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Turning Point at Chernobyl

If the Chernobyl disaster held one lesson, Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in 2006 on the catastrophe’s 20th anniversary, it was that nuclear devastation – whether caused by an accident or the deployment of a weapon – is far more horrifying than the world seemed to realize. Yet countries around the world continue to cling to nuclear technology. 

MOSCOW – The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month, even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the main cause of the Soviet Union’s collapse five years later. Indeed, the Chernobyl catastrophe was a historic turning point: there was the era before the disaster, and there is the very different era that has followed.