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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > October 2017 > The world’s nuclear weapons

The world’s nuclear weapons

Who’s got them? How many? And how big?



North Korea’s stand-off with Donald Trump is a stark reminder of the weapons that could wipe us all out. The map shows that the official nuclear powers have had some success in containing the geographical spread of atomic weapons since 1945. But during the first half of the nuclear era, bombs got much more numerous—and much more destructive. The largest “Tsar” bomb, which the Soviets tested in the 1960s, had a payload equivalent to 50Mt of TNT, making it over 3,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. In more recent times, as the charts show, the world’s nuclear stockpile has shrunk. The number of bombs is down by more than three-quarters since the 1980s. Meanwhile, the typical contemporary US nuclear warhead is considerably smaller than a 1970s H-bomb.

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In Prospect’s October issue: Andrew Adonis, Steve Richards, Gaby Hinsliff, Rachel Sylvester and Jennifer Williams look at the idea that leadership is the only thing that matters when it comes to elections. Adonis leads the cover package arguing exactly that point and outlining his ratings of the leaders who have competed every election in the UK and the United States since 1944—Richards offers a rebuttal. Hinsliff, Sylvester and Williams profile three potential leaders in waiting—Amber Rudd, Jo Swinson and Angela Rayner. Elsewhere in the issue we map out the potential road the UK might travel down to stay in the European Union and explore the relationship between UN Secretary General António Guterres and Donald Trump as the two prepare to meet at the UN. Also in this issue: Philip Collins on the similarities between Britain’s Brexiteers and the Gaullists of yesteryear, John Bercow explains how parliament could function better and our “View from” comes from Nairobi, where the recent election result has been annulled.