Majia here: Recently I've heard Arnie Gunderson state that Gorbachev viewed Chernobyl as the catalyst for the collapse of the Soviet Union. So, I spent some time to investigate this claim. I ordered Gorbachev's Memoirs but since I don't have it yet I relied on Internet interviews with Gorbachev to address his concerns and comments about Chernobyl
Gorbachev weighs Chernobyl legacy. BBC. 2006, April 4 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4918940.stm
[intro to article] "Mikhail Gorbachev had been Soviet leader for only 13 months when the Chernobyl nuclear accident happened. He describes how the authorities responded and reflects on the lessons from the disaster:
[Gorbachev states] "....The explosion at Chernobyl showed that we are capable of contaminating the planet for the long term, and of leaving a terrible legacy for future generations...."
MAJIA HERE: FURTHER,
'This Reactor Model Is No Good' Documents Show Politburo Skepticism of Chernobyl By Christian Neef. Spiegel. 03/24/2011
[article reads] "The Chernobyl accident was caused by "criminal negligence" and "a shocking lack of responsibility," Gorbachev angrily told the members of the politburo after they had tried to assign the blame to an unfortunate chain of adverse events. "One or two more of these cases," Gorbachev added, "and it'll be worse than after a nuclear war."
Excerpts from the minutes of the politburo, the inner circle of the Soviet party leadership, were later published, but only in fragments. The young Russian historian Pavel Stroilov, who lives in London today, secretly copied large parts of the Gorbachev archive...."
Turning Point at Chernobyl Mikhail Gorbachev April 14, 2006
[Gorbachev writes] "The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month, even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later. Indeed, the Chernobyl catastrophe was an historic turning point: there was the era before the disaster, and there is the very different era that has followed....
The Chernobyl disaster, more than anything else, opened the possibility of much greater freedom of expression, to the point that the system as we knew it could no longer continue. It made absolutely clear how important it was to continue the policy of glasnost, and I must say that I started to think about time in terms of pre-Chernobyl and post-Chernobyl.
The price of the Chernobyl catastrophe was overwhelming, not only in human terms, but also economically. Even today, the legacy of Chernobyl affects the economies of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Some even suggest that the economic price for the USSR was so high that it stopped the arms race, as I could not keep building arms while paying to clean up Chernobyl.
....Chernobyl opened my eyes like nothing else: it showed the horrible consequences of nuclear power, even when it is used for non-military purposes...."
Majia Here: As I see it, Chernobyl embodied and revealed the failure of the Soviet Union to protect the welfare of its population and it revealed the failings of technocratic authorities whose expertise had been so elevated within scientific Marxism.
I know three people personally who had their health compromised by Chernobyl when they were very small. They come from Sweden, Poland, and Romania. Two have thyroid disease and one has suffered cancer.
Chernobyl burned for approximately 11 days.
The Soviets mounted a response of 500,000 conscripts; their lives were forever affected but they succeeded in stopping the emissions and preventing another explosion.
In contrast, Fukushima has spewed emissions for 14 months. It is severely contaminating the Pacific ocean. Its fallout can be detected all over the northern hemisphere. Japan itself is heavily contaminated and the data suggest that the west coast of the US and Canada are also very contaminated.
The Japanese Government's responses have been deemed inadequate by citizens now pleading for UN intervention.
The US and Canadian responses have been almost non-existent.
Japan, the US, and Canada are democracies whose governments gain their legitimacy from the tenets that governments represent and protect their populaces.
Japan, the US, and Canada are also technocratic societies that elevate scientific authority and values.
Faith in government and science will not endure deception about Fukushima.
Gorbachev has warned us.
The governments of Japan, the US, and Canada need to wake up and start taking deliberative and transparent actions to protect their populations from the fallout that is bio-accumulating in food and water or they are unlikely to survive the next couple of decades intact....
[special note: I am an academic. I don't like revolutions. They create power vacuums that enable strongmen to rise as dictators. Intellectuals are often some of the first to lose their heads. I believe in reform. It is not too late. But it will be soon...]