Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Maintenance and modernization for the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next decade is expected to cost nearly $500 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report Thursday.
The $494 billion price tag is up 23 percent from the $400 billion 10-year estimate released two years ago. The 2017 report included a 15 percent increase over the 2015 report. The CBO releases its 10-year projected costs for nuclear forces every two years.
The costs of nuclear programs will cost an average of $50 billion a year.
The CBO said about $51 billion of the $94 billion increase from 2017's projection represents two later -- and more expensive -- years of modernization programs. The two years also reflect inflation relative to the two years (2017-18) that have dropped off of the projection.
Another $37 billion of the $94 billion increase comes during years included in both projects (2019-26) and reflects new modernization programs and weapons, and more concrete plans for nuclear command-and-control systems.
"The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review called for three increases in nuclear capability that could, if implemented, make the costs of nuclear forces about $17 billion higher over the next 10 years than they would have been otherwise (although that estimate is very uncertain)," the CBO said in the report.
The analysis added that U.S. nuclear forces represent about 6 percent of the total 10-year projected defense spending, according to President Donald Trump's 2019 budget submission.