Tuesday, January 16, 2007

'Doomsday Clock' hands to be moved

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to underscore 'Most Perilous Period Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki'.

Maybe - in view of the following and with Blair wanting to build a new generation of Trident missiles, and a new generation of nuclear power stations (the Environment Agency has just published its criteria for evaluating the 'environmental impact' of new build nuclear so it can be sped up) - it's time to join CND again. What do you think?

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS), a top level group of concerned academics and nuclear scientists founded in 1945 that includes Stephen Hawking, will move the minute hand of the 'Doomsday Clock' on January 17, tomorrow. This is the first such change to the Clock since February 2002, and marks a serious cocnern about world stability.

They are worried about a 'Second Nuclear Age' marked by grave threats, including:
  • nuclear ambitions in Iran and North Korea
  • unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere
  • the continuing 'launch-ready' status of 2,000 of the 25,000 nuclear weapons held by the U.S. and Russia
  • escalating terrorism, and
  • new pressure from climate change for expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks.

The BAS news event will take place simultaneously on January 17th at 9:30 a.m. ET at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., and at 2:30 p.m./1430 GMT in London at The Royal Society.

News event speakers will include:
  • Stephen Hawking, professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of The Royal Society;
  • Kennette Benedict, executive director, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists;
  • Sir Martin Rees, president of The Royal Society, and professor of cosmology and astrophysics and master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge;
  • Lawrence M. Krauss, professor of physics and astronomy at Case Western Reserve University; and
  • Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a BAS director and co-chair of the International Crisis Group.

A live, two-way satellite feed (with full Q&A) will connect the Washington, D.C., and London news events.

What is the clock?

In 1947 the Bulletin introduced its clock to convey the perils posed by nuclear weapons through a simple design. The Doomsday Clock evoked both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero).

In 1949 Bulletin leaders realised that movement of the minute hand would signal the organization’s assessment of world events.

The decision to move the minute hand is made by the Bulletin's Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates.

The Bulletin's Doomsday Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to nuclear weapons and other threats. Additional information is available at www.thebulletin.org.

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