Spending on nuclear weapons

As hundreds of millions of people across the globe go hungry, the nuclear-armed nations spend close to US$300 million a day on their nuclear forces.

The production, maintenance and modernization of nuclear forces diverts vast public resources away from health care, education, climate change mitigation, disaster relief, development assistance and other vital services. Globally, annual expenditure on nuclear weapons is estimated at US$105 billion – or $12 million an hour. The World Bank forecast in 2002 that an annual investment of just US$40–60 billion, or roughly half the amount currently spent on nuclear weapons, would be enough to meet the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals on poverty alleviation by the target date of 2015.

Nuclear weapons spending in 2010 was more than twice the official development assistance provided to Africa and equal to the gross domestic product of Bangladesh, a nation of some 160 million people. The Office for Disarmament Affairs – the principal UN body responsible for advancing a nuclear-weapon-free world – has an annual budget of $10 million, which is less than the amount spent on nuclear weapons every hour.

Country 2010 spending 2011 spending
United States $55.6bn $61.3bn
Russia $9.7bn $14.8bn
China $6.8bn $7.6bn
France $5.9bn $6.0bn
United Kingdom $4.5bn $5.5bn
India $4.1bn $4.9bn
Israel $1.9bn $1.9bn
Pakistan $1.8bn $2.2bn
North Korea $0.7bn $0.7bn
Total $91.0bn $104.9bn
Source: Global Zero. Figures in US dollars.


“The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded …. The end of the cold war has led the world to expect a massive peace dividend. Yet, there are over 20,000 nuclear weapons around the world. Many of them are still on hair-trigger alert, threatening our own survival.” – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


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