Published on January 25th, 2018 | by Selma van Oostwaard0
It is 2 minutes to 12 on the Doomsday Clock
Scientists have reset the Doomsday Clock: it is now 2 minutes before midnight, half a minute later than last year. This is the closest to midnight the clock has been since 1953, after the US for the first time achieved a thermonuclear explosion.
The Doomsday Clock shows that the chance a nuclear disaster will occur now seems bigger than during the Cold War. This is in part because of the new US nuclear policy, which leaked a few weeks ago. This so-called Nuclear Posture Review increases the role of nuclear weapons in US security policy, despite commitments made under the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty to reduce that role. It goes so far as to suggest that the threshold against the use of nuclear weapons should be lowered.
The scientists behind the Doomsday Clock recognize that the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was one of the major successes of last year, and emphasize the need to put nuclear disarmament on the agenda.
Danger of a nuclear disaster
The Doomsday Clock was established in 1947 by scientists working on the Manhattan Project, where the first nuclear weapons were developed. Under the banner of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, these experts knew better than anyone the dangers for people and the environment these weapons represented and wanted to communicate that to the public. The Doomsday Clock indicates, based on technical and geopolitical developments, how acute the danger of a nuclear disaster is.