GLOBAL SPENDING on nuclear weapons has increased for the third year in a row as the nine nuclear-armed states continued to modernise and expand their arsenals.

According to a new report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which produces the most authoritative figures on nuclear weapons expenditure, altogether the nine countries spent $82.9 billion, three per cent more than in 2021. That is $157,664 spent per minute on nuclear arms in 2022.

The report, Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending, shows that the United States spent $43.7 billion. Although this was slightly less than in 2021, the US continues to spend more than all the other nuclear-armed countries put together. China spent a quarter of the US total at $11.7 billion, an increase of just over six per cent. Russia was the third largest spender at $9.6 billion, which represents an increase of 5.74 per cent on the previous year. The country that increased its spending the most was India with a 21.8 per cent increase. The other country that had a double-digit rise was the UK which increased spending by just over 11 per cent.

$82.9 billion could have paid for two billion people to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or provided 1.275 billion people with clean water and sanitation for a year.

Arms companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons received new contracts worth just under $16 billion in 2022 and in turn spent $113 million on lobbying governments in the US and France alone. Globally, nuclear-armed countries have contracts with companies to produce nuclear weapons worth at least $278.6 billion continuing in some cases through 2040.

Nuclear weapons manufacturers and nuclear-armed states also spent millions funding the work of think tanks that in turn influence government policy and public attitudes towards nuclear weapons.

ICAN’s Programme Coordinator and co-author of the report, Susi Snyder said: “It’s appalling that these nine countries spent $82.9 billion on 12,500 nuclear weapons. These billions could have been spent on rebuilding from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic and combating climate change and biodiversity loss. The arms industry is raking in about 35 per cent of this money while telling shareholders that lobbying against nuclear disarmament is good for business. But thankfully more and more investors are coming to see nuclear weapons as a significant risk and are divesting from these companies.”

Alicia Sanders-Zakre, report co-author and Policy and Research Coordinator at ICAN added: “Nuclear-armed states increase spending every year, but the $82.9 billion they wasted in 2022 did nothing to improve global security, rather, they are making the situation worse. Real security is being provided through the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, where almost half of UN member states are rejecting these tools of terror and intimidation and collaborating to end the nuclear weapons era forever.”

* Read: Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending here.

* Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons