Nuclear-armed countries will spend $82.4 billion on weapons by 2021


International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons accuses nuclear-armed countries of “obscene” spending and notes that there is a lot of lobbying by industry.

The world’s nine nuclear-armed countries will have spent $82.4 billion upgrading their nuclear weapons by 2021, eight percent more than the year before, a campaign group said.

The largest spender was the United States, which accounted for more than half of total spending, followed by China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in its annual report on nuclear spending. .

“Nuclear-armed states have spent an obscene amount of money on illegal weapons of mass destruction by 2021, while the majority of countries in the world support a global ban on nuclear weapons,” the group said in its report. “This expenditure has failed to deter war in Europe and waste valuable resources that could be better used to address current security challenges, or to cope with the outcome of a still raging global pandemic. This corrupt cycle of wasteful spending must end.”

ICAN noted that nuclear weapons manufacturers have also spent millions on defense lobbying, with every $1 spent on lobbying leading to an average of $256 in new nuclear weapons contracts.

“The exchange of money and influence, from countries to corporations to lobbyists and think tanks, supports and maintains a global arsenal of catastrophic destructive weapons,” the report said.

On Monday, the Stockholm International Peace Research (SIPRI) warned that all nine nuclear-armed countries were expanding or upgrading their arsenals, and that the risk of such weapons being deployed now seemed greater than at any time since the height of the Cold War.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February, has openly threatened to use its nuclear weapons.

Kim Jong-un, pictured with his advisers shortly before Pyongyang’s last nuclear weapons test in 2017, is said to be preparing the country for renewed tests [File: KCNA via Reuters]

ICAN estimates that North Korea will have spent $642 million on nuclear weapons in 2021, even as the economy struggled with United Nations sanctions and the pandemic-related closure of borders.

Pyongyang walked away from denuclearization talks after the failure of a summit with then-US President Donald Trump in 2019, and has carried out a record number of missile launches this year. There are concerns that it is preparing for its first nuclear weapons tests since 2017.

There is no official confirmation of the amount North Korea spends on nuclear weapons or its arsenal. SIPRI estimates it has as many as 20 nuclear warheads.

Nuclear Weapons Expenditure, 2021

Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

  1. United States $44.2 billion
  2. China $11.7 Billion
  3. Russia $8.6 billion
  4. UK $6.8 billion
  5. France $5.9 billion
  6. India $2.3 billion
  7. Israel $1.2 billion
  8. Pakistan $1.1 billion
  9. North Korea $642m

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