“The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded.” – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 2009

ekonomi9Nuclear weapons are surrounded by secrecy – the nuclear economy being no different. Nuclear expenditure is often hidden behind shady headlines in the state budget, or as in the US case, is not part of the Defense Budget but of the Department of Energy Budget, making the expenditures all the more difficult to trace.

Some older numbers and data are available, but the officially available information on nuclear weapons expenditure is very limited. When we realize the amount of dollars or Euros being spent, it is easy to understand why governments want to keep quiet about it.

The US spend the same amount money on their nuclear weapons as the other nuclear weapon states do together. US nuclear budget is twice as large as their aid budget.

In 2011, US spent 104.9 billion US dollars on nuclear weapons. The resources spent on nuclear weapons would as well be needed for other purposes in the world.

The UN budget is 5,53 billion US dollars for the financial year 2014/2015.

The costs of nuclear weapons in the world would be enough to cover the UN budget for at least 35 years.

UN peacekeeping operations have a budget of 7 billion US dollars for the financial year 2014/2015. Peacekeeping operations has therefore only 7 % compared with nuclear weapons costing the world.

Military spending in the world

In 2013, the world’s total military expenditure was amounted to 1747 billion US dollars. This is equivalent to 248 US dollars per year for each person per year.

Every month 145 600 million USD
Every week 33 600 million USD
Every day 4 804 800 million USD
Every hour 200 million USD
Every minute 3,3 million USD
Every second 55 thousand USD


ekonomi10The military spending in the world would be enough to cover the UN’s budget for about 625 years.

Comparison of nuclear weapons costs and military spending

Nuclear weapons cost is still only about 6 % compared to the world’s enormous total military expenditures. For the nuclear weapon countries, nuclear weapons share of military spending is of course a little higher, but still not more than the order of 9 %. For those interested, there is a table with both military spending and nuclear weapons costs in an article from Global Zero from 2011.


Last update: February 4, 2015