The Doomsday Clock, a countdown warning of Armageddon engineered by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in Chicago in 1947, was moved forward by two minutes from 11:53 to 11:55 pm on 17 January. The last such alteration was in 2002, a reaction to 9/11 and increased global insecurity.

In 2007 the nuclear threat is not only greater on account of international terrorism but also thanks to global warming and oil shortages, causing nuclear resources to escalate in less stable regions of the world.

Principal risks include Iran’s open declaration of nuclear enrichment as well as Israel’s assumed nuclear capacity that may be launched in pre-emptive self-defence. Less quantifiable is the threat posed by Russia’s nuclear scientists, should their expertise fall into terrorist hands.

Simon Jennings

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