The world’s nuclear-armed nations reportedly spent about $73 billion on weapons in 2019, according to a new report.
The US one spent almost as much as the other eight nuclear-armed states combined.
The figure shows the highest expenditure on nuclear weapons since the height of the cold war.
The report, produced by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), sustains that the CODID-19 pandemic underlines the wastefulness of the nuclear arms race.
The nine nuclear weapons countries (US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) spent a total of $72.9bn in 2019, a 10% increase on the previous year.
Of that $72.9bn over $35.4bn was spent by the US administration, which accelerated Washington nuclear arsenal’s modernisation in the government’s first three years.
The ICAN report comes at a time when nuclear weapons control is at a low ebb.
New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), a treaty that aims to limit both US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons, is due to expire in February 2021 with no agreement so far to extend it.
According to the US Congressional budget office the cost of the US nuclear programme over the next decade will be $500bn, an increase of nearly $l00bn over projections from the end of the Obama administration.
Russia, according to ICAN’s estimates, spent $8.5bn on its arsenal in 2019. Moscow has recently announced the development of a series of new weapon systems, including nuclear-powered, long-distance cruise missiles, unmanned underwater long-distance nuclear torpedoes, and a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBMs).
China, which at the moment has a much smaller nuclear force than the US or Russia, now seeks to expand its nuclear defence capabilities with an investment in 2019 of $10.4bn in nuclear weapons.