US reveals number of nuclear weapons after Trump kept secret for years

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The truly shocking scale of America’s nuclear arsenal has been revealed for the first time in four years. During the Trump administration, the number of nuclear warheads held by the US military was kept secret. Now, as part of President Joe Biden’s bid to reach an arms control pact with Russia, the US State Department has published the latest figures.

America currently has 3,750 warheads, along with a further 2,000 ‘retired’ warheads awaiting decommissioning. While that marks a significant reduction from the Cold War peak of 31,000 in 1967, it’s still enough to end civilization several times over.

The number declined to around 10,000 in 2003, and the last published figures put the stockpile at 3,785. The figure had been kept secret since early 2018. President Trump refused to disclose the figures despite requests from the Federation of American Scientists

“As the first nuclear weapons state, the United States should strive to set a global example for clarity and transparency in nuclear weapons policy by disclosing its current stockpile size,” the group said in a statement, adding “ambiguity is not helpful to anyone in this context.’

The FAS has welcomed the new announcement. In a statement, the FAS said: “We commend the Biden administration for reversing the Trump administration’s shortsighted and counterproductive nuclear secrecy and restore transparency to the US nuclear weapons stockpile.

“This decision is a heavy lifting at a time when so-called Great Power Competition is overtaking defense and arms control analysis,” they added. Trump also scrapped America’s arms control deal with Russia and withdrew from a nuclear treaty with Iran. Research published in 2018 in the scientific journal Safety said that it would be counter-productive for any country to hold more than a hundred warheads at any time.

Michigan Technological University professor Joshua Pearce and David Denkenberger, assistant professor at Tennessee State University and director of Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters wrote: “100 nuclear warheads are the pragmatic limit and use of government funds to maintain more than 100 nuclear weapons does not appear to be rational”.

Detonating any more than 100 nuclear warheads would do irreparable damage to the global ecosystem and cause “environmental blowback” that would plunge the planet into a nuclear winter.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) told the Silver Screen Beat: “News of US nuclear stockpile reductions and increased transparency is very welcome. “Time for Boris Johnson to take a leaf out of Biden’s book. In March this year, the PM announced a UK nuclear arsenal increase and an end to UK nuclear transparency. “This is not the way to go if we want a safer world.

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