Policy Brief 1 – Nuclear Weapons: the Opportunity Costs

  • Jun 10, 2013

The following is a summary. Click on the adjacent link to download the full briefing.

Nuclear weapons are inherently unusable but hugely expensive. The United States alone has spent an estimated US$8.7 trillion on nuclear weapons between 1940 and 2011. Looking ahead, the nine nuclear-armed states will spend more than one trillion dollars over the next decade on their nuclear arsenals. But at what return for the price? For poor countries such spending entails significant opportunity costs for development priorities. For developed countries it adds continuing stress to already overstretched government budgets, and inhibits investment in defence platforms and systems that are actually usable.