Don’t Bank on the Bomb


International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – TRANSCEND Media Service

The Financing of Nuclear Weapons Producers – With a Foreword by Desmond Tutu

This is the first major global report on the financing of companies that manufacture, modernize and maintain nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles. It identifies more than 300 banks, insurance companies, pension funds and asset managers from 30 countries that invest significantly in 20 major nuclear weapons producers.

Divesting from Nuclear Weapons

We need your help to put pressure on financial institutions to stop investing in the nuclear arms industry. By financing nuclear weapons producers, banks and other institutions are in effect facilitating the build-up of nuclear forces.

ICAN supporter and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu has called on financial institutions to “do the right thing and assist, rather than impede, efforts to eliminate the threat of radioactive incineration”, noting that divestment was a vital part of the successful campaign to end apartheid in South Africa.

“Today, the same tactic can – and must – be employed to challenge man’s most evil creation: the nuclear bomb. No one should be profiting from this terrible industry of death, which threatens us all,” he wrote.

Who’s Involved?

Nuclear-armed nations spend in excess of US$100 billion each year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear forces, with much of this work being carried out by corporations such as BAE Systems in the United Kingdom, Lockheed Martin in the United States, Thales in France and Larsen & Toubro in India.

Financial institutions invest in these companies by providing loans and purchasing shares and bonds. Of the 322 financial institutions identified in the report, roughly half are based in the United States and a third in Europe. Asian, Australian and Middle Eastern institutions are also listed.

Those most heavily involved in financing nuclear arms makers include Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase in the United States; BNP Paribas in France; Deutsche Bank in Germany; Mistubishi UJF Financial in Japan; Banco Santander in Spain; Credit Suisse and UBS in Switzerland; and Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland in Britain.

The Case for Divestment

The report emphasizes the humanitarian, legal and environmental arguments for divestment. Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, writes in the report: “Anyone with a bank account or pension fund has the power to choose to invest his or her money ethically – in a way that does not contribute to this earth-endangering enterprise.”

In addition to stating the ethical case for divestment, the report also warns of the reputational risks associated with financing nuclear arms, and highlights the positive role that financial institutions could play in the quest for nuclear-weapon-free world.

Chapter 4-Producers: 20 Major Nuclear Weapons Companies

These 20 companies, which are the focus of this report, are involved in the nuclear weapons programmes of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and India. The report examines which financial institutions around the world invest in these companies through shares, bonds and loans.

Alliant Techsystems

Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, is involved in the manufacture of US nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. It produces rocket propulsion systems for Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles and Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Babcock & Wilcox

The Babcock & Wilcox Company supplies the US government with various nuclear components for its defence programmes. It operates the Pantex plant of the National Nuclear Security Administration, where it modernizes nuclear warheads.

Babcock International

Babcock International is involved in the development of a new class of nuclear-armed submarine for the United Kingdom. It also assists with the maintenance of the country’s existing fleet of Vanguard-class nuclear-armed submarines.

BAE Systems

BAE Systems is involved in the development of a new class of nuclear-armed submarine for the United Kingdom to replace the Vanguard class. It is also part of a joint venture that is producing nuclear missiles for the French air force.


Bechtel manages the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories in the United States, which research, design and develop nuclear weapons, and monitor the “safety and reliability” of the entire US nuclear weapons stockpile.


Boeing is involved in the maintenance of the 500 or so Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles in the US arsenal. It is responsible for guidance, flight controls, secure codes, weapons systems testing and engineering.


The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, or EADS, is a Dutch company that produces and maintains submarine-launched nuclear missiles for the French navy, and is part of a joint venture that is building nuclear missiles for the French air force.


Finmeccanica holds a one-quarter share in MBDA, a joint venture that is building nuclear missiles for the French air force. The missiles are capable of being launched from the Mirage 2000N fighter plane and the new Rafale fighter plane.


GenCorp is involved in the design, development and production of land- and sea-based nuclear ballistic missile systems for the United States. It is currently producing propulsion systems for Minuteman III and D5 Trident nuclear missiles.

General Dynamics

General Dynamics provides maintenance, engineering and technical support for US nuclear-armed submarines. It built the Ohio-class submarines for the US navy, many of which are equipped with Trident nuclear-tipped missiles.

Honeywell International

Honeywell International produces approximately 85 per cent of the non-nuclear components for US nuclear weapons. It is involved in simulated nuclear testing and the life-extension programme for the US navy’s Trident II nuclear missiles.

Jacobs Engineering

Jacobs Engineering owns a one-third share in the Atomic Weapons Establishment, which designs, manufactures and maintains the nuclear warheads for the United Kingdom’s submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Larsen & Toubro

Larsen & Toubro is involved in the design and construction of five nuclear-armed submarines for the Indian navy, each of which will be equipped with 12 missiles. The company has also tested a launch system for India’s nuclear missiles.

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is involved in the production and maintenance of nuclear weapons for both the United States and United Kingdom. It is responsible for the construction of submarine-launched Trident II D5 nuclear missiles.

Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman leads a joint project responsible for producing and maintaining Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles for the United States. Roughly 500 such missiles form the core of the US land-based nuclear arsenal.

Redhall Group

Redhall Group operates within the nuclear weapons industry via contracts with the British Ministry of Defence carrying out mechanical and electrical engineering activities at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston and Burghfield.


Rolls-Royce is part of a joint venture in the United Kingdom to develop Successor, a new class of nuclear-armed submarine. It is also involved in the maintenance of the existing fleet of Vanguard-class nuclear-armed submarines.


Safran is part of a joint venture to build the new M51 submarine-launched nuclear missiles for the French navy, which each deliver multiple warheads. Its subsidiaries Snecma and Sagem provide the propulsion and navigation systems for these missiles.

Serco Group

Serco owns a one-third share in the joint venture AWE-ML, which runs the British Atomic Weapons Establishment. It is responsible for manufacturing and maintaining the nuclear warheads for the country’s submarine fleet.


Thales is part of a joint venture to build the new M51 submarine-launched nuclear missiles for the French navy, which each deliver multiple warheads. EADS’s subsidiary Astrium is the lead contractor, whereas Thales is a main subcontractor.

We hope the report will be a useful tool in your campaigning.

With determination, The ICAN Team



This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 12 Mar 2012.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Don’t Bank on the Bomb, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

Comments are closed.