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New Left Review I/157, May-June 1986

Zhores Medvedev

Innovation and Conservatism in the New Soviet Leadership

I. The Chernobyl Disaster

May we begin by discussing the Chernobyl disaster, which has been at the centre of attention in the recent period. Implicit in Western official and much press reaction is the idea that everything is entirely different over there. More specifically, there are charges that the Chernobyl type of reactor is not as safe as those used in the West, that the design is primitive or faulty, that there may have been poor workmanship or organization in the process of construction. Are such claims valid? [*] The first part of this interview was conducted for New Left Review on 16 May 1986; the second part is an abridged extract from the current issue of the London journal Labour Focus on Eastern Europe. The interviewers in both cases were Michele Lee and Oliver MacDonald.

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