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Nations to Spend $1 Trillion on Nukes, Group Says

June 20, 2011 Comments off

globalsecuritynewswire

The planet’s nine nuclear weapons states are anticipated in the next 10 years to expend $1 trillion on acquiring and updating their systems, a prominent nuclear disarmament organization said (see GSN, June 7).

The group Global Zero — whose goal is total nuclear disarmament no later than 2030 — calculated the nuclear weapons expenditure figures for China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Financial Times reported. The organization is seeking to bring attention to the high price countries pay for their nuclear arsenals in a time of increasing government budget restraints.

Nuclear costs among the nine nations this year are estimated at $100 billion, with similar annual numbers anticipated throughout the decade, according to Global Zero.

The organization determined that nuclear arsenal expenditures take up roughly 9 percent of the countries’ total military spending; that percentage is anticipated to increase as traditional defense programs are curtailed in a number of the nations. Nuclear weapons spending encompasses research, development, weapons assessments and acquisitions.

“Spending will increase because of decisions by both nations to upgrade and replace,” Global Zero founder Bruce Blair said. “Modernization is progressing at such a pace we are seeing more spending on nuclear weapons than at any time since the Cold War.”

The group is to convene a two-day forum in London this week with participants including Russian Federation Council international affairs committee Chairman Mikhail Margelov, ex-Indian defense chief Jaswant Singh, ex-CIA intelligence agent Valerie Plame and multiple senior Chinese officials.

Global Zero wants to see other nuclear nations besides the United States and Russia take part in formal discussions on nuclear arms control.

The two former Cold War rivals together hold 95 percent of the planet’s nuclear weapons. They recently implemented a bilateral treaty that requires both sides to reduce their deployed stockpiles of strategic warheads to 1,550. U.S. President Obama has said he would like to see negotiations with Moscow for a treaty on tactical weapons begin in 2012 (see GSN, June 2; James Blitz, Financial Times, June 19).