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
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.
The Islamic Republic of Iran stands at the threshold to the bomb. In 2010 it had more than enough low-enriched uranium (some 2,152 kilograms) to make its first bomb's worth of weapons-grade uranium. The LEU would have become highly enriched uranium in roughly 10 weeks had it been fed into the 4,186 centrifuges then operating. Thousands of other centrifuges are also known to be operating at the Natanz secret nuclear facility.
The recognition of the need for nuclear disarmament and the question of how to achieve it are as old as the nuclear age. In June 1945, before the first nuclear weapon had been built, in what became known as the Franck Report, a group of scientists working on the U.S. atomic bomb program warned that:
As retaliation against tighter U.N. sanctions, on Saturday North Korea defiantly threatened to expand its nuclear arsenal and begin a program of uranium enrichment--a threat it first made in response to U.N. condemnation of its early April rocket launch. Compared to North Korea's well-known plutonium production program, the nature of Pyongyang's highly enriched uranium (HEU) program is less clear.