The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognized design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. First and foremost among these are nuclear weapons, but the dangers include climate-changing technologies, emerging... Read More
Do you think the hands of the Doomsday Clock should be closer to or farther from midnight?
Rosner is the William E. Wrather distinguished service professor in the departments of Astronomy and Astrophysics and Physics at the University of Chicago. Rosner recently stepped down as director of Argonne National Laboratory, where he had also served as chief scientist. His research is mostly in the areas of plasma astrophysics and astrophysical fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics (including especially solar and stellar magnetic fields); high-energy-density physics; boundary mixing instabilities; combustion modeling; applications of stochastic differential equations and optimization problems; and inverse methods.
Lynn EdenRobert RosnerRod EwingSivan KarthaEdward "Rocky" Kolb Lawrence M. KraussLeon LedermanRaymond T. PierrehumbertM. V. RamanaJennifer SimsRichard C. J. SomervilleSharon SquassoniElizabeth J. WilsonDavid TitleyRamamurti Rajaraman
Today, more than 25 years after the end of the Cold War, the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board have looked closely at the world situation and found it so threatening that the hands of the Doomsday Clock must once again be set at three minutes to midnight.
Despite the recommendations of the 2012 Blue Ribbon Commission Report, the US government has made no substantial progress toward the permanent, or even temporary, consolidated storage of used civilian nuclear fuel.
Lawrence M. KraussLynn EdenRobert RosnerAlexander GlaserEdward "Rocky" Kolb Leon LedermanRamamurti RajaramanM. V. RamanaElizabeth J. WilsonRichard C. J. SomervilleSivan KarthaJennifer SimsRod Ewing
A careful review of threats leads the Bulletin's Science and Security Board to conclude that the risk of civilization-threatening technological catastrophe remains high, and that the hands of the Doomsday Clock should therefore remain at five minutes to midnight.
Nuclear power continues to offer the potential to be a major, worldwide, scalable, carbon-free energy source—if the challenges of safety, nonproliferation, waste management, and economic competitiveness are addressed.
Robert SocolowThomas RosenbaumLynn EdenRod EwingAlexander GlaserSivan KarthaEdward "Rocky" Kolb Leon LedermanRamamurti RajaramanM. V. RamanaRobert RosnerJennifer SimsRichard C. J. SomervilleElizabeth J. Wilson
Editor's note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the planet.
For months, and perhaps years, lessons will be learned from the events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, which will serve as both a laboratory and a classroom. As the sequence of events leading to the accident continued through the accident response, at least one concept was made clear: When operating reactors, defense-in-depth -- the technical concept of multiple layers of safety backup systems -- must incorporate a series of active backup systems (meaning that they require human intervention) that must be operable to forestall single-point catastrophic failures.
The events at Fukushima Daiichi have greatly renewed the public focus on the safety of the existing fleet of nuclear reactors, especially as many US reactors share the same fundamental design—and safety systems—as the affected Japanese reactors.