NewsNuclear powers spent £72.4 billion on arms, ICAN reports

Nuclear powers spent £72.4 billion on arms, ICAN reports

The photo shows Russian RS-24 ballistic missile launchers during a parade in Moscow, 2018.
The photo shows Russian RS-24 ballistic missile launchers during a parade in Moscow, 2018.
Images source: © Anadolu Agency via Getty Images | Sefa Karacan
Tomasz Sąsiada

17 June 2024 18:03

Over a year, nuclear powers spent £72.4 billion on nuclear armaments, according to data published on Monday by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The United States allocated by far the most money for this purpose.

According to the ICAN report published on Monday, in 2023, the nine countries possessing nuclear weapons - the USA, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea - spent a total of £72.4 billion on nuclear armaments. This is £8.5 billion more than the previous year. The United States spent the most (£40.8 billion), followed by China (£9.4 billion), Russia (£6.5 billion), and the United Kingdom (£6.4 billion). The US accounted for 80 per cent of the total global increase in spending on this purpose annually.

Over the past five years, the USA, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea have allocated a total of £307 billion to nuclear armaments. The value of atomic weapon investments increased from £54.2 billion to £72.4 billion annually during this period, a 34 per cent rise. This demonstrates that all countries possessing nuclear warheads are not only modernizing but also expanding their arsenals, commented ICAN.

"Unacceptable waste"

The report's authors assess that the enormous sums allocated to nuclear armaments are "an unacceptable waste of public funds." They emphasize that if the equivalent of £72.4 billion were invested in renewable energy sources, wind turbine-generated power could be provided to over 12 million households.

One minute of nuclear armament spending could cover the cost of planting around 1 million trees, while five minutes could feed approximately 45 million people suffering from hunger. Deutsche Welle points out that the conclusions presented by ICAN align with the observations of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which also published its annual report on Monday.

ICAN was founded in 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. Currently, the headquarters of this coalition, composed of about 650 partner organizations from 110 countries, is located in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2017, ICAN was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize for "drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."

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