Nuclear weapons spending increases while global security decreases


ICAN’s new report “Wasted: 2022 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending” shows nine countries spent $82.9 billion on nuclear weapons, of which the private sector earned at least $29 billion in 2022. The United States spent more than all of the other nuclear armed states combined, $43.7 billion. Russia spent 22% of what the U.S. did, at $9.6 billion, and China spent just over a quarter of the U.S. total, at $11.7 billion.

This is the fourth annual report on global nuclear weapons spending published by ICAN.  The report shows that global spending on nuclear weapons has increased for the third year in a row as the nine nuclear-armed states continued to modernise and expand their arsenals. 

The report illustrates how private contractors continue to benefit from nuclear weapons spending and lobby to maintain nuclear weapons. It details the $278.6 billion in ongoing nuclear weapons contracts, some of which don’t expire for decades. In 2022, at least $15.9 billion in new nuclear weapon contracts were awarded. The companies that received these contracts invested in lobbying governments, spending $113 million on those efforts in the US and France alone. 

Think tanks also benefited from these corporate interests. Together, nuclear weapon producing companies, nuclear-armed governments and those in nuclear alliances spent $21-36 million funding the ten most prominent think tanks researching and writing about nuclear weapons in nuclear-armed states.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine publicly demonstrated how unacceptably dangerous nine countries’ reliance on nuclear weapons is. Those whose incomes depend on the existence of nuclear weapons fiercely defended the right of these countries to indiscriminately murder civilians with weapons of mass destruction through falsehoods of deterrence.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the multilateral response to the irresponsible behaviour of all nuclear-armed states to pour money down their nuclear weapons drains. It is the normative barricade against threats to use nuclear weapons. All countries should join this landmark international instrument to prohibit the development and maintenance of nuclear weapons and prevent their eventual use by ensuring their elimination.