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Nuclear Weapon Facts Page

21 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons

Except where noted all figures are in US dollars 


1.   Cost of the Manhattan Project (through August 1945):

SOURCE: Richard G. Hewlett and Oscar E. Anderson, Jr., The New World: A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Volume 1, 1939/1946 (Oak Ridge, Tennessee: U.S. AEC Technical Information
Centre, 1972)


2.   Total number of nuclear missiles built, 1951-present:
       67,500 missiles

SOURCE: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project.


3.   Total number of nuclear bombers built, 1945-present:
       4,680 aircraftTop of page

SOURCE: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project.


4.  Peak number of nuclear warheads and bombs 
     in the US stockpile:
     32,193 nuclear devices. This occurred in 1966

SOURCE: Natural Resources Defence Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project.


5.   Projected U.S. nuclear warheads and bombs 
     after completion of the START II reductions in 2003:
     5,000 nuclear devices

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Defence; Natural Resources Defence Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project.


6.  Largest and smallest nuclear bombs ever deployed:
     B17/B24 (~42,000 lbs., 10-15 megatons); 
     W54 (51 lbs., .01 kilotons, .02 kilotons-1 kiloton)

SOURCE: Natural Resources Defence Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project.


7.  Fissile material produced by the United States of America: 
     104 metric tons of plutonium and
      994 metric tons of highly-enriched uranium

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy.


8.  Amount of plutonium still in weapons:
     43 metric tons

SOURCE: Natural Resources Defence Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project.


9.  Number of thermometers which could be filled with 
     mercury used to produce lithium-6 at the Oak Ridge
     11 billion

Top of page
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy.


10.  Money and non-monetary compensation paid by the
     United States to Marshal lese Islanders since
     1956 to redress damages from nuclear testing:
     At least $759,000,000

SOURCE: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project.

11.  Total cost of the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP)  
     program, 1946-1961:

SOURCE: "Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program," Report of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, September 1959.


12. Total number of nuclear-powered aircraft 
     and airplane hangers built:
     0 and 1

Between July 1955 and March 1957, a specially modified B-36 bomber made 47 flights with a three megawatt air-cooled operational test reactor (the reactor, however, did not power the plane).


13.  Number of secret Presidential Emergency Facilities 
     built for use during and after a nuclear war:
     More than 75.

SOURCE: Bill Gulley with Mary Ellen Reese, Breaking Cover, Simon and Schuster, 1980.


14.  Total number of U.S. nuclear weapons tests, 1945-1992:
     1,030 (1,125 nuclear devices detonated)

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy.


15.  First and last nuclear test:
     July 16, 1945 ("Trinity") and September 23, 1992 ("Divider")

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy.


16.  Estimated amount spent between October 1, 1992 
     and October 1, 1995 on nuclear testing activities:
     $1,200,000,000 (0 tests)

Top of page
SOURCE: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project.


17.  Largest U.S. explosion/date:
     15 Megatons/March 1, 1954 ("Bravo")

U.S. Department of Energy.


18.  Current number of attack (SSN) and 
     ballistic missile (SSBN) submarines:
     80 SSNs and 18 SSBNs

SOURCE: Adm. Bruce DeMars, Deputy Assistant Director for Naval Reactors, U.S. Navy.


19.  Number of designated targets for U.S. weapons 
     in the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) 
     in 1976, 1986, and 1995:
     25,000 (1976), 16,000 (1986) and 2,500 (1995) 

SOURCE: Bruce Blair, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution


20.  Number of U.S. nuclear bombs lost in accidents 
     and never recovered:

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Defence; Centre for Defence Information; Greenpeace; "Lost Bombs" Atwood-Keeney Productions, Inc., 1997


21.  Minimum number of classified pages estimated to be
     in the Department of Energy's possession:

SOURCE: A Review of the Department of Energy Classification Policy and Practice, Committee on Declassification of Information for the Department of Energy Environmental Remediation and Related Programs, National Research Council, 1995.

Other Interesting Nuclear Facts


The power of nuclear devices is measured in kilo tons.

A 1 Kilo ton bomb would have the same destructive power as a 1000 tons of TNT

To give you an idea of how big 1000 tons of TNT actually is, think about this.

A 1000 tons of TNT , if packed onto cargo crates or pallets and stored 3 boxes high, would stretch approximately 200 miles.



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