Countdown to Nuclear Fallout

On January 28, 2018, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) set the Doomsday Clock at two minutes until Nuclear Midnight, due to rising tensions with North Korea. Nuclear Midnight is when the nuclear threat becomes reality. The Doomsday Clock represents the geopolitical stance of the current world. The scientists on the BAS determine if the time should be set closer or further from midnight by analysing the news and major events of the previous year.

Since 1947, at the peak of the Cold War, scientists have been counting down to the Nuclear Midnight. In early January, the BAS put the world at two minutes until midnight and stated that it is not too late and the clock can tick away from midnight like it has in the past. The last time it was at two minutes was in 1953 and the furthest it has been from midnight was at seventeen minutes in 1991. The BAS website also includes information on other contributing factors, such as number of warheads in the thousands and the amount of weapons grade Plutonium and Uranium owned by each by country and as Nuclear Midnight approaches this means that the world could end.

Lawrence M. Krauss, chair of the BAS Board of Sponsors, and a theoretical physicist, said, “Today, the danger of some sort of nuclear catastrophe is greater than what it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware.” The President of the BAS, Rachel Bronson, stated at a press conference on January 28th, 2018, “As of today, it is two minutes to midnight, as close the world has ever been to the hour of apocalypse.”  BAS statistics also state that, in 2017, America had 4,000 nuclear warheads, Russia had 4,300, and North Korea had less than 10. America has the second highest amount of weapon grade Uranium and third highest amount of weapon grade Plutonium. These are the statistics that contribute to the time on the Doomsday Clock.

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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Interviewed on the subject was Urbandale junior, Anne Gage. When she was told about it and asked her opinion she told Urbandale Times, “I think it is kinda scary that we have a Doomsday Clock to begin with. Honestly, we know that there is nuclear stuff out there but when the clock starts getting closer and closer, you know it will count down to how many days we have here on Earth, yeah I can see why we have it but it freaks me out personally”.

 

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