(Geneva, July 2009, 172pp)
Geneva, August 5, 2009. Tomorrow August 6 a whole range of actions will be organised around the world to mark the 64th anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima by atomic weapons. For 64 years people from all walks of life in all parts of the planet have mobilised to bring about their elimination. Nuclear weapons not only threaten massive destruction, but they also incur enormous costs. Apart from the damage caused by blast, fire and radioactive fallout from actual use in warfare, the weapons impose major financial, moral and political costs on nuclear weapons states and countries that host the weapons. The US alone spends annually over US$ 50 billion on its nuclear arsenal, and the global annual total is around $90 billion. At a time of global economic crisis, when the international community is also struggling to come up with ways to respond to climate challenge and dwindling energy resources, can this be the right use of public money?
It is therefore an appropriate moment for IPB to publicly launch its new publication on this subject. In contrast to earlier studies which looked at single countries, Nuclear Weapons: At What Cost? offers a survey of the costs of the nuclear weapons programmes of all the relevant states – even though in some cases the exact figures are difficult to obtain.
The book also examines other costs associated with nuclear weapons programmes, especially the environmental and health costs. Furthermore, it relates the issue to a whole range of wider questions: transparency and the democratic deficit, the spread of military bases, nuclear tests, proliferation, the costs of disarmament, and the wider framework of military versus social and development spending. It will be a vital addition to the libraries of persons and institutions concerned with these issues.
Author: Ben Cramer is a Paris-based researcher of the political dimensions of the arms race and a journalist specialised in ecological security. A former Greenpeace nuclear disarmament campaigner, his work on nuclear issues feeds the magazine ‘Débat Stratégique‘ and French think-tank CEREM (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches de l’Enseignement Militaire). Some of this research was published in the pamphlet ‘Nuclear Fallacies – the Nuclear Fallout of Globalization’ (French title: Le Nucléaire dans tous ses Etats, Alias, Paris, 2002).
Publisher: The International Peace Bureau is a long-standing global network of over 300 civil society organisations in 70 countries. It won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910, and over the years 13 of its leaders have been Nobel laureates. Its main programme centres on Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development. See www.ipb.org
Copies of the book can be ordered from the IPB Secretariat for 25 CHF or equivalent in major currencies. Review copies can be made available at no cost – please contact address above for details.
Note: this book is currently only available in English – offers of translations are welcome.