Reducing the Risks of Nuclear War—The Role of Health Professionals

Document Type : Editorial


1 Editor-in-Chief, British Medical Journal, London, UK

2 Health Sciences School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

3 Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, Doncaster, UK

4 Sheffield University Interpersonal Violence Research Group, Sheffield, UK

5 Medical Journal of Australia, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

6 University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

7 Dutch Journal of Medicine, and Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

8 The Lancet, London, UK

9 Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

10 Editor-in-chief, African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine, Stellenbosch, South Africa

11 Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paolo, Brazil

12 Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA

13 Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Cambridge, MA, USA

14 MBBS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences [AIIMS]), New Delhi, India

15 School of Medicine at Kabale University, Kampala, Uganda

16 CA Medlynks Medical Centre and Laboratory, East African Medical Journal, Nairobi, Kenya

17 University of Winchester and Vice-President, World Association of Medical Editors, Winchester, UK

18 President Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, Ludhiana, India

19 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

20 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

21 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Springfield, IL, USA



Note: This Comment is being published simultaneously in multiple journals. For the full list of journals see:



Main Subjects

In January 2023, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward to 90s before midnight, reflecting the growing risk of nuclear war.1 In August, 2022, the United Nation Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the world is now in a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.2 ... (Read more...)

  1. Science and Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. A Time of Unprecedented Danger: It is 90 Seconds to Midnight. 2023 Doomsday Clock Statement. January 24, 2023. Accessed June 1, 2023.
  2. United Nations. Future Generations Counting on Our Commitment to Step Back from Abyss, Lift Cloud of Nuclear Annihilation for Good, Secretary-General Tells Review Conference. SG/SM/21394. August 1, 2022. Accessed July 10, 2023.
  3. Tollefson J. Is nuclear war more likely after Russia's suspension of the New START treaty? Nature. 2023;615(7952):386. doi:1038/d41586-023-00679-w
  4. United Nations. 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). May 2-27, 2005. Accessed June 2, 2023.
  5. Mukhatzhanova G. 10th NPT Review Conference: Why it Was Doomed and How it Almost Succeeded. Arms Control Association. October 2022. Accessed June 2, 2023.
  6. Lewis P, Williams H, Pelopidas B, Aghlani S. Too Close for Comfort: Cases of Near Nuclear Use and Options for Policy. Chatham House Report. April 2014. Accessed June 1, 2023.
  7. Bivens M. Nuclear Famine. IPPNW. August 2022. Accessed June 1, 2023.
  8. Xia L, Robock A, Scherrer K, et al. Global food insecurity and famine from reduced crop, marine fishery and livestock production due to climate disruption from nuclear war soot injection. Nat Food. 2022;3(8):586-596. doi:1038/s43016-022-00573-0
  9. Helfand I, Lewis P, Haines A. Reducing the risks of nuclear war to humanity. Lancet. 2022;399(10330):1097-1098. doi:1016/s0140-6736(22)00422-6
  10. Nobel Prize Outreach AB. International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War—Facts. 1985. Accessed June 1, 2023.
  11. UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 2023. Accessed June 1, 2023.
  12. Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. No First Use: Frequently Asked Questions. 2023. Accessed June 2, 2023.