The nuclear club: who’s in and who’s out

With North Korea in mind, Left Foot Forward has taken a look around the world at who's in and who's out of the WMD club.

With North Korea ramping up its anti-US rhetoric, many in and around the Korean peninsula are increasingly worried. Much of this concern stems not only from the fact that North Korea is increasingly unpredictable, but from the belief that North Korea possesses a nuclear weapon.

A totalitarian country directing aggressive rhetoric towards its neighbours is one thing. A regime doing so while sitting on top of at least one nuclear weapon is quite another.

With the hermit kingdom in mind, Left Foot Forward has taken a look around the world at who’s in and who’s out of the WMD club.

Currently there are eight public nuclear powers: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, North Korea and Pakistan.

The first four are designated nuclear states under the 1970 non-Proliferation Treaty which sought to limit the spread and growth of nuclear arms. Since then, India, Pakistan and most controversially North Korea have all developed nuclear weapons in direct contradiction of the treaty.

It is believed that Israel is the ninth nuclear power, with estimations that the country has in the region of 120 nuclear warheads. The Israeli government refuses to confirm or deny this.

Kazakhstan, Belarus and the Ukraine all returned their nuclear weapons to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

South Africa once possessed nuclear warheads but disassembled them in the early 90’s shortly before the apartheid government fell.

Argentina, Brazil, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Japan, South Korea have all allegedly attempted at some point to produce nuclear weapons in but have scrapped their programmes before results could be reached.

Australia, Canada, Poland, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, and Serbia before Yugoslavia disintegrated, were all suspected to possess nuclear programmes at some point during the cold war but scrapped them.

Nuclear map

Source: infoplease

The graph below shows the growth and decline in nuclear weapons since the end of the Second World War.

Nuclear Weapons

Source: Johnston archive

5 Responses to “The nuclear club: who’s in and who’s out”

  1. Mick

    Iran is also desperately trying to join the nukie club, a nation so dangerous that even Obama baulks at letting it have his own way, despite praising it to the heavens in his Cairo speech. And a couple of years back our own Chancellor told banks not to lend to Tehran as the money would fund weapons research.

    Google JOHN KERRY CONCEDES IRAN IS MOVING CLOSER TO POSSESSING A NUCLEAR WEAPON or GUARDIAN IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH HAVE BUILT 5,000 STRONG FORCE TO HELP SYRIAN REGIME.

    Iran has given succour to oppressive terrorist groups like Hezbollah, stated it hates Israel with a passion and it even kidnapped our own sailors in an act of illegal piracy.

  2. Mick

    That should say GUARDIAN IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH HAVE BUILT 50,000 STRONG FORCE TO HELP SYRIAN REGIME.

    They’re worse than you thought!

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  4. Mad Jack McMad

    Just push the button and get it all over and done with, shall we?

  5. musivick

    the 10 toes of Daniels’ Statue & the 10 kings of the Beast Empire are the 10 nations of the Nuclear Club… with Iran or Saudi Arabia as the 10th state which will share power with the end-time Beast for an hour… until the Beast lays low 3 Kings of this clay+iron Nuclear Club
    (Clay are democracies & allies+ Iron are Islamic states and allies)

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