The US Nuclear Arsenal

Published Sep 13, 2017

Here’s every nuclear weapon in the US arsenal

Each point represents a nuclear weapon—the most destructive device on Earth. The US nuclear arsenal includes over 3,800 weapons.

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These weapons are unlike any other.

Here’s an average one, the W78. Its detonation creates a fireball that would vaporize everything within a half-mile radius. Shockwaves within a mile of the blast would destroy nearly all buildings and humans. Every person within a 4-mile radius would receive third degree burns on exposed skin. Those surviving collapsed structures and fires would receive a lethal dose of radiation. Depending on blast and weather conditions, radioactive fallout could spread for more than a hundred miles.

Hundreds can be launched within minutes.

About 400 nuclear-tipped missiles are stationed underground in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota. They’re staffed 24/7 and kept on hair-trigger alert, ready to launch if and when they receive orders from the president.

Submarines carry hundreds more.

A single nuclear-armed submarine carries eight times more explosive power than every weapon used during the entirety World War II – including the two nuclear bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States deploys on average 8 to 10 such subs at sea at any given time.

Aircraft are armed too.

About 300 bombs and air-launched cruise missiles are deployed on air bases in the United States. Another 100 bombs are in Europe. All are capable of smaller, lower-yield explosions, which may increase the risk that they’ll actually be used.

The president can use them at any time.

As Commander in Chief, the president has complete control over the US nuclear arsenal. The president is not required to consult anyone in Congress, the judicial branch, or even the US military before ordering a nuclear strike.

More are in storage.

Thousands of backup weapons are kept in storage—the so-called nuclear hedge. In total, the US maintains about 2,000 nuclear warheads in storage.

New weapons on the way.[1]

The United States plans to spend a trillion dollars to rebuild essentially all of its nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Experts fear that the plan, which includes new designs and capabilities, will fuel tensions with Russia and China and ultimately undercut US security.

Act Now


So are we. There are too many weapons, and our policies and plans around them—hair-trigger, presidential authority, the trillion dollar plan—are simply too risky.

Explore for yourself.

Hover over any point for information on the weapon.



[1] - The weapons in grey are the B61-7, B61-11 and B83 bombs, of which only the B61-7 will be replaced. Current public estimates give a combined total of 510 for these three bombs (100 deployed and 410 in storage), but no information on the individual bombs. Based on information from 2013, there could be anywhere from 155 to 430 B61-7’s in the current arsenal.

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The entire US nuclear arsenal