Global nuclear weapons inventories

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SeriesNPOW (SocioPolitical preprocessor) is part of the interstate politics model, of which the most recent and complete documentation is available on Pardee's website.

Source & Update Frequency

The data source is the journal article: Global nuclear weapons inventories, 1945–2013, written by Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris The most recent pull in 2017/04 is from the updated versino of the article (same authors and same publisher.) Based on historical records, the authors update this article with new data every 3-4 years. 


Back-up sources: The FAS Nuclear Notebooks could be used when individual country’s data/analysis is needed. They have been updated for as frequent as once per year. However, it’s not organized in a way that’s easy for data pulling, so currently we are not using it for data collection purpose. In case the above journal stops updating, the FAS Nuclear Notebooks will work as an alternative source to keep the series going. Issues dating back to the very first issue in May 1987 can be found through the following link.


Variable: NPOW

Table: SeriesNPOW

Group: Government

SubGroup: International

Series:  No

CoVaTrA: No

Cohort: No

Definition: Nuclear warheads, strategic (regardless of size)

Extended Source Defn: No

Units: Units

Years: 1945-2013

Source: Global nuclear weapons inventories, 1945–2013, written by Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris (We have access through DU library/AAC)

Original Source: Federation of American Scientists website ( as compiled by Timothy Smith

Notes: JW; HF; When SIPRI specified a range, the average value was used. Data for North Korea is estimated based on number of nuclear tests. 

Last IFs Update: 2017/04/19

Aggregation: SUM

Disaggregation: GDP

TreatNullsAs0s: n/a

Proprietary: n/a

Used In Preprocessor: Yes

Used In Preprocessor File Name: SOCIOPOL

Compare Other Forecast: n/a

Code in Source: n/a

Decimal Places: 0

Country Concordance: Ifs Country

Formula: n/a

Country Coverage





Korea, Democratic People's Republic of


Russian Federation

United Kingdom

United States

Data Import


  1. Search for newer version of the article Global nuclear weapons inventories, 1945–2013, written by Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris. You can do so by searching "Global nuclear weapons inventories" in Taylor and Francis Online database .
  2. Click on the “figures and data” tab to view relevant content from the article. You should be able to access a figure like this that summarize global nuclear weapons stockpiles.
  3. Create a new Excel file. Type down the new data; countries in columns and years in rows. Save. The country names need to match the names listed in the “country coverage” list above. 
  4. Check to ensure no changes are needed in the Ifs Country translation.
  5. Upload data in IFs using the single series import option. Choose the excel sheet; use the “Ifs Country” country concordance table; choose excel source data format -- Single series.
  6. Vet. Make sure to blend in previous years’ data. 
  7. Open the IFsDataImport.mdb in DATA folder, exchange all "null"s into "0"s. (Tips: Use null when we don't have the data; use zero when we do have the data but it is zero.) Save and send the file to the vetter. 

Special attention:

North Korea

Despite three nuclear tests and production of enough plutonium for 8 to 12 nuclear bombs, North Korea has yet to demonstrate that it has operationalized any weapons. It is the conclusion of the US intelligence community that despite its efforts, North Korea has not, however, fully developed, tested, or demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear-armed missile. (Clapper, 2013: 7). Currently, data for North Korea is estimated based on number of nuclear tests.


Because of the way we pull new data (hand typing) for this series, it is very important to go back and blend the previous years. For instance, in the last update, without blending, we would have erased the previous 1945-2010 data with the new 2011-2013 import.