France 'massively upgrading' its nuclear weapons: report

Nuclear-armed countries increased spending on atomic weapons arsenals by a third in the past five years, according to a new report. France is just one of nine countries racing to modernise stockpiles against a backdrop of growing political tensions around the globe.

France is engaged in a "massive multi-year nuclear weapons upgrade" according to a report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), spending €300 million more on them than the year before.

"It can launch nuclear weapons by aircraft as well as by submarine and is investing billions in developing more sophisticated systems to be able to launch them," according to Alicia Sanders-Zakre co-author of the 85-page report Surge: 2023 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending.

France's total spending on nuclear weapons, some €5,3 billion in 2023 alone, amounts to "more than €10,000 per minute," Sanders-Zakre told RFI.

Clearly, the French government "didn't listen to calls from some major cities, including Paris, to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons", she says.

But within the ranks of the world's nuclear powers, France appears modest.

Jointly, the world's nine nuclear-armed states jointly spent €85 billion on their arsenals last year, says the ICAN report.

This is an increase of €10 billion from a year earlier, with the United States accounting for 80 percent.

Read more on RFI English

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