Sakharov: Mankind Cannot Do Without Nuclear Power

After the Chernobyl nuclear-reactor catastrophe of April 26, 1986, the reports in the Soviet press led me to adopt far too sanguine an approach. One clue that should have alerted me to a possible cover-up was a mid-May report that several fire fighters had perished; if radiation levels in the vicinity of the Chernobyl plant did not exceed 10 to 15 milliroentgens an hour, what could have caused their deaths?

In fact, the radiation levels published in the Soviet press were 1% or less of the true figures. But there were other, subjective reasons for my complacency: my preconceptions, my mental...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!