Pakistan has increased production of its nuclear arsenal in the past decade, and is now also aiming to develop smaller and lighter atomic missile warheads, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist said in a report.
According to the report Pakistan’s development of the warheads have come on an alarming pace and it is expected to surpass Britain’s nuclear stockpiles in a decade.
“Pakistan has shown clear signs of its intention to grow its nuclear arsenal. Most recently, the country has begun to increase its plutonium production capabilities, with two new plutonium production reactors under construction, as well as a new chemical reprocessing facility,” the journal said.
“The country’s increased interest in plutonium demonstrates its likely goal to develop smaller, lighter warheads more suitable for use on missiles. In 2011, Nuclear Notebook reported that, in the next decade, Pakistan’s arsenal could grow larger than that of Britain’s, it already has almost around 200 nukes compared to almost 100 of India’s.” it said.
According to the journal, the global nuclear stockpile stands at roughly 19,000 nuclear weapons — the nuclear-armed states account for an estimated 420 of those weapons, while the nuclear weapon states have the rest.
“With stocks of fissile material sufficient for an arsenal of up to 200 nuclear warheads, Israel may have the largest stockpile among the nuclear-armed states” it said.
“Today, these three countries have the largest arsenals they have ever had. This growth trend among key nuclear-armed states stands in stark contrast to Britain, which, with an estimated 225 warheads, has the smallest arsenal of the nuclear weapon states; its arsenal peaked between 1975 and 1980 with 520 warheads,” it said.