The board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced yesterday that the doomsday clock is now at 5 minutes to midnight. The announcement symbolizes the Scientists’ concern that over the past 2 years the world has not come closer to eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons or reducing the risk of nuclear disasters.
According to their statement, failure to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by the United States, China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel, and North Korea have made the world a more dangerous place. There has also been no meaningful action on better securing the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, to keep such material from being acquired by radical groups. There are 19,500 nuclear weapons in the world today, an amount that could destroy the world several times over. Their existence is yet another reason that the infamous clock has moved up to 5 minutes before irreparable harm occurs.
The Doomsday clock was created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947. When it first appeared it was set at 7 minutes to midnight, reflecting the state of the world in relation to possible nuclear destruction. Since the end of the cold war it has frequently and almost consistently been set back, however in recent years it has moved forward to reflect nuclear weapons agreements, as well as risks stemming from climate change and nanotechnology. The comparison between 1947 and 2012 clocks indicates that despite having just come out of a terrible world war where 2 nuclear bombs were dropped, the present day is actually a more dangerous reality.
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