Public Release: 

Can we track the world's nuclear weapons?

SAGE

CHICAGO - March 2, 2015 - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has unveiled an interactive infographic that tracks the number and history of nuclear weapons in the nine nuclear weapon states: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. The Nuclear Notebook Interactive Infographic is designed to provide a visual representation of the Bulletin's famed Nuclear Notebook, which since 1987 has tracked the number and type of the world's nuclear arsenals.

"I don't think people truly understand just how many of these weapons there are in the world," said Rachel Bronson, executive director of the Bulletin. "The Interactive is a way to see, immediately, who has nuclear weapons and when they got them, and how those numbers relate to each other. It is a startling experience, looking at those comparisons."

The authors of the Nuclear Notebook are Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, both with the Federation of American Scientists. In the most recent edition of the Nuclear Notebook, the authors discuss the Notebook's 28 year history and describe how sometimes host countries learned of foreign nuclear weapons on their soil from the Nuclear Notebook: "For instance, Japan--which was the target of two atomic bomb attacks and has a law against nuclear weapons on its territory--learned from the Notebook that there were US nuclear weapons on Chichi Jima and Iwo Jima, an enormous and varied US nuclear arsenal on Okinawa, US nuclear bombs (without their fissile cores) stored on the mainland at Misawa and Itazuki air bases (and possibly at Atsugi, Iwakuni, Johnson, and Komaki air bases as well), and nuclear-armed US Navy ships stationed in Sasebo and Yokosuka."

Over 28 years of weapons analysis, the Nuclear Notebook column has revealed surprise nuclear activity and spot-on arsenal estimates while becoming a daily resource for scholars, activists, and journalists. "We wanted a way to communicate those numbers visually, because the world we live may be data-driven, it's also visual," said John Mecklin, editor of the Bulletin. "The new Infographic makes this vital information even more accessible."

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The Nuclear Notebook Interactive Infographic was made possible through the generous support of the Ploughshares Fund.

About the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with the Governing Board and the Board of Sponsors, which includes 16 Nobel Laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences.

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