“To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger—and its immediacy.”
With those words the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight. The clock, the world’s clearest symbol of humankind’s proximity to self-annihilation, now stands at two minutes to midnight, the closest it has even been.
In stark contrast to the recently leaked draft of the US Nuclear Posture Review, which lays the blame for a deteriorating global security climate everywhere but at the feet of the United States, the Atomic Scientists attribute the increase in peril to “a fundamental breakdown in the international order that has been dangerously exacerbated by recent US actions.”
Actions by the United States, including the stated intention to spend more than one trillion dollars modernizing our nuclear arsenal from the ground up over the next thirty years, are propelling a new global nuclear arms race, driving Russia and China to invest in new offensive and defensive nuclear weapons.
In Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that trillion is already being spent—nearly $4 billion will have been spent by the end of 2018 on the design of a new nuclear weapons manufacturing plant—the Uranium Processing Facility—which will produce thermonuclear cores for the US Life Extension Program and, eventually, for new and modified design nuclear weapons. The UPF has been called the “tip of the spear” of the new modernization effort.
In contrast to 122 nations of the world whose vote to adopt a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations this past summer was an effort to reduce the nuclear danger, the United States boycotted the Treaty negotiations and refused to sign the document.
“We hope this resetting of the clock will be interpreted exactly as it is meant: an urgent warning of global danger,” said the scientists in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post. “The time for the citizens of the world to demand action is now.”
In response to the resetting of the clock hands, Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, said, “The recent scare in Hawai’i should be a wake up call for everyone—the threat of nuclear weapons is real. There are citizens active around the world calling on their governments to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament. This past year, the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to one of them, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
“We urge everyone who wants a safer, more secure future for their children to get involved with a group or organization working for nuclear abolition,” Hutchison said. “Local groups like OREPA exist at weapons sites across the US—you can find them through the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.”
for more information: Ralph Hutchison 865 776 56050 firstname.lastname@example.org