Shift in ‘Doomsday Clock’ welcomed by Bruce Kent

The movement this week of the Doomsday Clock - a barometer of nuclear danger for the past 55 years – in a positive direction has been welcomed by Bruce Kent, Vice President of both Pax Christi and the campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). On Thursday it was moved one minute further away from the ‘midnight hour’.

“That the clock has moved a fraction away from disaster is understandable,” he said. “Both the Pope and President Obama have made the abolition of all nuclear weapons a real and present possibility, but the clock will soon move in the other direction if we do not actively support them”.

The timepiece, devised by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947, soon after the first use of an atomic weapon in 1945, now stands at six minutes to the hour.

From New York, the group said it made the decision to move the clock back because of a more "hopeful state of world affairs".  The clock had been adjusted 18 times before today since its initial start at seven minutes to midnight. It was last changed in January 2007, to five minutes to midnight, when climate change was added to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to humankind. There was also concern about the inability to halt the international trafficking of nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists now feels that there is now a "growing political will" to tackle both the "terror of nuclear weapons" and "runaway climate change".

But they urge all leaders  “to fulfill the promise of a nuclear weapon-free world and to act now to slow the pace of climate change". The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, founded by former Manhattan Project physicists, has campaigned for nuclear disarmament since 1947.

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