September 16, 2013
Israel has never confirmed or denied possession of nuclear weapons,
but according to new report by US experts it has at least 80 operative
warheads and has enough material to produce up to 190 more.
In a report published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,
nuclear weapon proliferation experts Robert S. Norris and Hans M.
Kristensen assess that Israel stopped producing nuclear warheads back in
2004 once it reached around 80 munitions.
However, the country can easily double its arsenal since it has
enough fissile material to build at least another 115 bombs, experts
“There are rumors that Israel is equipping some of its submarines with nuclear-capable cruise missiles,”the report says,
echoing the 2013 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
yearbook on armament and international security which also suggested
Israel could have nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missiles and
reported the same assessment of nuke stockpiles.
The suspicions were fueled by the fact that Germany supplied Israel with five Dolphin-class submarines, allegedly capable of launching nuclear missiles, and signed a contract to build a sixth.
It remains unknown how many nuclear warheads of the total inventory
could already be deployed, as Israel continues to maintain its
long-standing policy of nuclear opacity. In December 2012, Israel once
again dismissed the latest demand from the members of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to join the accord.
Israeli stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have
come under unusual scrutiny following the US-Russian roadmap for the
destruction of Syrian chemical weapons, which is seen as a significant
step towards a WMD-free region.