Israel has all but suspended its development of nuclear warheads and has not produced new ones since 2004, a new report published over the weekend by nuclear proliferation experts Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, said. Their findings are largely in line with a similar assessment by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency.
The report, which reviewed the evolution of nuclear weapons stockpiles of the United States, Russia, the U.K., France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea since 1945, was published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine on Saturday.
Norris and Kristensen’s report alleged that while Israel has never admitted to developing nuclear weapons of any kind, between 1967 and 2004 it had produced an average of three nuclear warheads a year and was in possession of 80 nuclear warheads by 2004.
The two alleged that prior to its suspension, the annual production of nuclear warheads gradually increased according to the various security threats Israel has faced over the years, adding that besides the nuclear warheads, Israel has fissile material sufficient to arm between 115 and 190 warheads.
According to the report, Israel decided to suspend its alleged production of nuclear warheads because it is “satisfied” with its current arsenal and “could increase the quantity, and may even double it, if it sees fit.”
Despite the halt in production, they said, it is likely that Israel’s nuclear weapons stockpile may increase slightly by 2020.
Norris and Kristensen’s report further alleged that Israel has equipped some of its submarines with cruise missiles that can, if need be, carry nuclear warheads.
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