Global Spending on Nuclear Weapons Continues to Rise

Nuclear powers’ spending to modernize their arsenal of nuclear weapons is up nearly 9 percent in 2021, to $82.4 billion. This is according to a report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.


The United States alone spent $44.2 billion on its nuclear program last year, 12.7 percent more than a year earlier. China spent 11.7 billion (+10.4 percent), according to the report published Tuesday. The budgets of Russia (8.6 billion), France (5.9 billion) and the United Kingdom (6.8 billion) also increased, but less.

A total of $30.2 billion in new contracts were also signed with private companies to modernize the nuclear arsenal of major powers, the NGO said. Those private companies, in turn, engaged think tanks and pressure groups to defend the usefulness of nuclear weapons. ICAN speaks of a vicious pro-nuclear circle.

“This report shows that nuclear weapons are useless,” said Alicia Sanders-Zakre, who is coordinating ICAN’s investigation. “Nuclear weapons countries spent $6.5 billion more in 2021 and yet they failed to prevent nuclear power from starting a war in Europe. That is why we need multilateral nuclear disarmament more than ever.”

ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its efforts toward the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty was signed by 59 countries, but not by any nuclear power.

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