US says it has 5,113 nuclear warheads

Pentagon gives unprecedented accounting of secretive arsenal.

saudi arabia nukes 311 (photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
saudi arabia nukes 311
(photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
The US has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and "several thousand" more retired warheads awaiting the junk pile, the Pentagon said Monday in an unprecedented accounting of a secretive arsenal born in the Cold War and now shrinking rapidly.
"We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can be about the nuclear program of the US," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters at the UN, where she addressed a conference on containing the spread of atomic weapons.
The United States previously has regarded such details as top secret.
The Pentagon said the stockpile of 5,113 as of September 2009 represents a 75 percent reduction since 1989.
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Clinton said the disclosure of numbers the general public has never seen "builds confidence" that the Obama administration is serious about stopping the spread of atomic weapons and reducing their numbers.

The US revelations are calculated to improve Washington's bargaining power with Iran's allies and friends for the drive to head off what the West charges is a covert Iranian program to build a bomb.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamadinejad spoke ahead of Clinton at the conference, denouncing US efforts to pressure his regime to abandon its nuclear program.