Nuclear Time Bombs

Not only is Chernobyl still a danger. So are many similar reactors, sunken submarines and radioactive waste dumps.

Few environmental nightmares strike a more frightening chord than Chernobyl. It is not merely the radioactive mess left by the 1986 meltdown. Six years later, 19 similar graphite-moderated nuclear time bombs are still ticking away, alarming relics of a badly designed, haplessly run nuclear-power program that none of the independent republics of the former Soviet Union can afford to shut down. The potential killers bring light, heat and power to parts of Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania, where their immediate decommissioning would create unacceptable economic disruption and even civil unrest.

The handling of Chernobyl is hardly reassuring. When workers finished the huge...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


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

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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