Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists looks to 2012 biosecurity changes

In a special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, experts reflected on 2011 and looked ahead to 2012 for the areas of nuclear weapons, biosecurity, nuclear energy and climate change.

Gerald Epstein, the director of the Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said that there was progress in 2011 to address biological threats related to non-state groups. He said that the Biological Weapons Committee is evolving to adapt to the changing nature of the biological threat.

Epstein also said that biosecurity would be directly connected with the international community's ability to cooperate, think strategically and creatively, and enter partnerships with scientists from all around the world.

The issue was released before the Doomsday Clock Symposium on January 9-10 in Washington, DC. The Bulletin's Science and Security Board evaluated the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock and determined that it should be moved one minute closer to midnight, according to the Daily Mail. The clock, which was first displayed in 1947 to convey the perils posed by nuclear weapons, now stands at five minutes to midnight.

Stephen Miller, the director of the International Security Program at Harvard University, said that momentum has slowed in the arms control arena related to nuclear arms. The tension with Iran over weapons, difficulties between Russia and the United States, and the spread of nuclear technology in Southeast Asia and the Middle East are among the problems that "seem certain to cast a powerful shadow in months and years to come," Miller said.