Doomsday Clock ticks closer to armageddon

23:24, Jan 10 2012
Doomsday clock
THE END IS NIGH: The Doomsday Clock is maintained by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

The world has inched closer to apocalypse after scientists moved the Doomsday Clock one minute closer to the zero hour.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists made the adjustment in reaction to an increased risk of weapons proliferation, the failure of a nuclear power plant in Japan and terrorist threats to use "dirty bombs" with stolen atomic material, CNN reported.

"The world still has approximately 19,500 nuclear weapons, enough power to destroy the Earth's inhabitants several times over," the board wrote in a joint statement.

The clock now stands at five minutes to midnight.

It has been at six minutes before midnight since January 2010, when scientists moved the hand back, reflecting a decreased risk of nuclear proliferation.

The Doomsday Clock conveys how close humanity is to destruction-  the figurative midnight - and monitors the means humankind could use to obliterate itself.

Nuclear weapons are one of several issues that determine the setting of the Doomsday Clock. Atomic energy also contributed to the higher risk represented by moving the clock forward a minute.

The rare bright points the scientists noted were the Arab spring and movement in Russia for greater democracy, The Guardian reported.