MICHIGAN, US – The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock on Tuesday to the closest point to midnight it has ever been in history in an ominous warning fueled by the war in Ukraine.
The clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been.
The major reason for the move: Mounting dangers over the war in Ukraine.
The Doomsday Clock is set every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board (SASB) and serves as a leading indicator of the world’s vulnerability to global catastrophe caused by technologies of man’s own making.
The SASB bills itself as a “select group of globally recognized leaders with a specific focus on nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive technologies.”
The organization was founded in 1945 by world-renowned theoretical physicist Albert Einstein and several University of Chicago scientists who helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project.
The Doomsday Clock was founded two years later by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists using the imagery of apocalypse – midnight – and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion – countdown to zero – to put forth current threats to humanity and the planet.
The Bulletin emphasized that the conflict in Ukraine – which will enter its second year near the end of February – remains tense, with neither side willing to concede.
Russia has been especially threatening, with President Vladimir Putin raising the specter on more than one occasion of using nuclear weapons.
“The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high,” the Bulletin states.
It pointed to actions surrounding both the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactors, both situated in Ukraine, the former of which was the site of a disastrous nuclear accident in 1986.
The latter is known as the largest nuclear power facility in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world. It is currently in Russia's control.
The Bulletin encouraged US officials to “keep the door open to principal engagement with Moscow that reduces the dangerous increase in nuclear risk the war has fostered.” (Anadolu)