U.S. Department of Energy - Nuclear Stockpile Facts

Prof. Robert B. Laughlin
Department of Physics
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

(Copied 14 Aug 09)

Declassification of Certain Characteristics of the United States Nuclear Weapon Stockpile

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the Press Secretary, Washington, DC 20585
June 27, 1994

The Department of Energy and the Department of Defense have jointly declassified certain characteristics of the Nation's nuclear weapon stockpile.




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Declassified Stockpile Data 1945 to 1994


Q. Why wasn't this information declassified earlier?

A. The United States maintains the nuclear weapon stockpile as a deterrent. During the Cold War, most information concerning the stockpile was classified for clear reasons of national security. Upon review, it was determined that some general information concerning the stockpile can now be released without harm to national security.

Q. When will more detailed information on the nuclear stockpile be declassified?

A. The nuclear stockpile is extremely important to the defense of the Nation. At this time, release of more detailed information is not judged to be in the Nation's best interest.

Q. Why are total quantities provided only up to 1961?

A. Past total stockpile numbers which are composed, even partially, of weapon systems still in the stockpile remain classified. Further data on total stockpile numbers may be released in the future as additional weapon systems are retired.

Q. Why are retirement rates and disassembly for disposal rates different from each other from year to year?

A. Retirement is an accounting change that authorizes removal of a weapon from the nuclear stockpile and its transfer to the Department of Energy for conversions, modifications, or eventual disassembly. Disassembly for disposal is the process of taking apart a nuclear weapon. Disassembly rates depend on available capacity at Pantex.

Last Updated: April 24, 2008