The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a new report projecting that the US will be spending $348 billion over the next 10 years just on maintaining its existing arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The costs are split between two departments, with the Energy Department on the hook for $121 billion and the Pentagon paying the other $227 billion. The report warns that significant parts of the arsenal are going to be nearing the end of their service lifetimes, and that the cost could spiral over the next two decades.
Thus many are arguing that the $348 billion is misleadingly low, and that the already huge cost will get much worse in the mid-2020s as new weapons are ordered.
For decades, the costs of the nuclear weapons program were not well documented, but even now that the CBO releases these regular reports there is considerable dispute over the accuracy of the numbers. The most recent figures from Ploughshares argued that the overall costs, including cleanup and missile defense related expanses, brought it closer to $640 billion.
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