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Russia's Nuclear Warriors  

world map with missile countries marked To learn what each nuclear nation is thought to possess in the way of nuclear missiles, click on labels either on or below the map.

NPT countries: UK | USA | France | China
Russia | Iran | Iraq | North Korea

Non-NPT countries: Israel | Pakistan | India

Global Guide to Nuclear Missiles
by Lexi Krock

Since the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was opened for signature on July 1, 1968, a total of 187 countries have joined, including the five acknowledged nuclear-weapons states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China. The only countries that have not become parties of the NPT are Cuba, India, Israel, and Pakistan.

The NPT obligates the five signatory nuclear-weapons countries not to transfer nuclear weapons, other nuclear explosives devices, or their technology to any non-nuclear-weapon state. By the same token, the non-nuclear-weapon parties must not acquire or produce nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

While there have been no confirmed violations of the NPT by any of its signed members, experts believe some non-nuclear NPT countries, such as Iraq, may have obtained nuclear technology or equipment from private parties in other states. Iran, also a party to the NPT, may have been pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program for the past 20 years.

The Cold War is over, but the ominous threat of nuclear war still remains today. The post-Cold War era in which we now live holds different dangers that are equally if not more threatening. Russia's missiles are aging and her early-warning satellite system is flawed. Hundreds of tons of weapons-usable nuclear materials currently stored in poorly secured warehouses all over Russia could potentially fall into the wrong hands. Rogue factions, such as that or those that perpetrated the horrific terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001, have expressed interest in acquiring nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons for use on civilians.

Use the map above to circle the globe in search of its nuclear arsenals and find out exactly what nuclear weapons comprise the arsenals of the five acknowledged weapons states and where they are kept. Find out, in addition, what weapons the non-NPT countries have and where in the world nuclear weapons may be in the process of secret development.

To see definitions of technical terms, click on the highlighted words or visit the Glossary. Note that maps and missile images in this feature are not drawn to scale, and that to adhere to practice standard in the field of nuclear-weapons technology, all measurements in this feature are given in metric. To figure the equivalent in pounds, go to our metric conversion table.


Lexi Krock is editorial assistant of NOVA Online.

Maps and flags: Courtesy of the CIA World Factbook; Missile Illustrations: Courtesy of Missile.index, http://www.index.ne.jp/missile_e/index.html

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