Nuclear powers reducing and modernizing their arsenals, study says


OSLO — The world’s nuclear powers are simultaneously reducing and modernizing their arsenals as investment in nuclear weaponry increases, according to a report by a Swedish research institute published on Monday.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said that, “while the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world continues to decline, all of the nuclear weapon-possessing states are … modernizing their nuclear arsenals.”

These states “will not be prepared” to give up their arsenals “for the foreseeable future,” the report said.

The decrease in the overall number of nuclear weapons is largely down to reductions made by the US and Russia. Between them they possess 13,800 nuclear weapons – nearly 93 per cent of the global total.

Both countries have introduced extensive modernization programmes, with the US planning to spend 400 billion dollars by 2026 on maintaining and updating its nuclear arsenal.

“The projected increases in US spending are not unexpected,” SIPRI associate senior fellow Hans Kristensen said. “The current US administration is continuing the ambitious nuclear modernization plans set out by [former] president Barack Obama.”

States with fewer nuclear weapons are also investing in modernization, the report said.

North Korea possesses enough fissile material for between 10 and 20 nuclear warheads, “an increase on the estimates for previous years,” it noted.