Nuclear weapons comes at higher cost, but overall spendings on modernizing atomic weapons have skyrocketed by around 9% in 2021, as per a report issued by International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Countries mostly spent $82.4 billion on upgrading their nuclear arms.
By far, the largest spender was the United States, accounting for over half of global nuclear armaments spending: $44.2 billion.
This is a 12.7% rise from the year previous. The US maintains some 5,550 nuclear warheads, which it retained after the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT).
Moreover, spending is going up at an alarming rate. As highlighted by the report, nine nuclear-armed states spent over $156,000 per minute on nuclear weapons in 2021.
Certain military contractors have made a fortune from nuclear weapons-related contracts. Honeywell International made $6.2 billion from nuclear tenders and spent an additional $7 million on lobbying. Lockheed Martin got $1.9 billion from the industry and spent $16.9 million on lobbying.
China also rises increased its spending by 10.4 percent to $11.7 billion in 2021. It now possesses 350 nuclear warheads and is mentioned to be expanding its arsenal.
Almost all nuclear nations have increased their budgets over recent years. Russia now dedicates $8.6 billion to its nuclear programme, France $5.9 billion, and the UK $6.8 billion.
Bitter rivals India and Pakistan are both racing to compete in nuclear weapons spending. Estimates state that Pakistan spent about $1.1 billion on nuclear armaments last year, while India spent around $2.3 billion. There are concerns that any escalation of the Kashmir dispute between the two nations could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
In addition, Israel, which has never officially acknowledged having nuclear warheads, is estimated to have spent $1.2 billion last year. Rogue state North Korea spent $642 million on developing its rapidly expanding nuclear weapons arsenal.
The report notes that recent geopolitical events in Europe have only served to line the pockets of the wealthy, who profit from the industry.
“We were told that investing billions in weapons of mass destruction, with the power to destroy the world many times over, was the price to pay for peace in Europe. Instead, that money has lined the pockets of a wealthy few.”
Global panic over global weapons came to a head this year. In 2022, iodine tablets sold out in pharmacies worldwide as the threat of nuclear war in Ukraine seemed increasingly likely.
Russia used nuclear threats against the rest of the world to force its will on Europe.