US taxpayers contribute almost $ 100,000 a minute to modernize the country's nuclear weapons. This is what ICAN - the International Campaign for Nuclear Prohibition - writes in a report released this week. The organization received the Nobel Peace Prize 2017.

ICAN states that they have documents showing that about 50 US universities receive funding, access to research facilities and career opportunities in return to support the "nuclear weapons complex".

"The dozens of universities that help build US nuclear weapons, largely in secret, must immediately change course and work to eliminate them," said Beatrice Fihn, head of ICAN in a written statement.

Closed robot hatches on US submarine USS Wyoming. Photo: AP

80 defense budgets

Some of the universities mentioned are the University of California, Texas A&M University, Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester.

They handle nuclear-related activities on behalf of the government, and these are contracts worth several billion dollars each year, ICAN claims:

US taxpayers pay nearly $ 500 billion to maintain and renew the country's nuclear arsenal, ICAN reports.

This corresponds to just over 80 Swedish state budgets for defense and social security.

An estimate made shows that within the next 30 years, the United States will invest $ 1.7 trillion ($ 1,700 billion) on nuclear weapons.

US B-52 bomber aircraft are escorted by fighter aircraft. Photo: AP

It was then President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama that initiated the US modernization of nuclear weapons. It was decided in 2010 after extensive Russian upgrading of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

President Donald Trump then went on to develop US nuclear policy in the Nuclear Posture Review 2018.

The universities have played a key role in development ever since the United States built the first nuclear bombs during World War II. "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" released over Japan in 1945.

A closed facility in Hanford that was part of the US's top secret nuclear weapons project Manhattan. Photo: AP

A test copy of the Fat Man atomic bomb released over Nagasaki in Japan in 1945. Photo: AP

In Sweden, too, universities have been of great importance for the development of nuclear weapons. The Royal Institute of Technology KTH in Stockholm contributed to the development of the Swedish nuclear weapons program during the Cold War with, among other things, a research reactor R1.

There were plans for hundreds of nuclear weapons. But the Swedish nuclear weapons program ceased in the early 1970s - before a nuclear weapon became clear, according to the Swedish Defense Research Institute's FOI.

UN prohibition

UN: on the other hand, has decided on a nuclear ban. It was voted on by 122 countries in July 2017.

Sweden was one of the countries that voted yes to the UN agreement. But in the summer of 2019, the S + MP government decided that Sweden will not join the UN ban.

"The government will not at present sign the Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons," said then Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (S).

The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm where Sweden's first research reactor was located. Photo: TT