AN influential panel is calling for an 80% reduction of US nuclear weapons and an elimination of all nuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In a report for the advocacy group Global Zero, retired General James Cartwright and others argue the US needs no more than 900 total nuclear weapons for its security in a post-Cold War world.

The report chaired by General Cartwright, a former vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and known to be close to President Barack Obama, comes at a time when the Mr Obama is weighing a range of sharp nuclear reductions.

The Obama administration is reportedly considering at least three options for lower total numbers of deployed strategic nuclear weapons – reducing their numbers to 1000-1100, 700-800 or 300-400.

The Global Zero report calls for such weapons to be reduced to about 450, while maintaining an equal number of stored weapons.

The US and Russia have an estimated 5000 nuclear weapons each, either deployed or in reserve. The two countries are already on track to reduce to 1550 deployed strategic warheads by 2018, as required by the New Start treaty.

The proposal also calls for achieving the cuts over 10 years either unilaterally or through negotiations with Russia.