To be a scientist is to be naive. We are so focused on our search for truth, we fail to consider how few actually want us to find it. But it is always there, whether we see it or not, whether we choose to or not. The truth doesn’t care about our needs or wants. It doesn’t care about our governments, our ideologies, our religions. It will lie in wait, for all time. And this, at last, is the gift of Chernobyl. Where I once would fear the cost of truth, now I only ask: What is the cost of lies?
We live in a country where children have to die to save their mothers. To hell with your deal. And to hell with our lives. Someone has to start telling the truth.
When it’s your life and the lives of everyone you love, your moral conviction doesn’t mean anything.
What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all.
You’ll do it because it must be done. You’ll do it because nobody else can. And if you don’t, millions will die. If you tell me that’s not enough, I won’t believe you. This is what has always set our people apart. A thousand years of sacrifice in our veins. And every generation must know its own suffering. I spit on the people who did this, and I curse the price I have to pay. But I’m making my peace with it, and now you make yours. And go into that water. Because it must be done.
There was nothing sane about Chernobyl. What happened there, what happened after, even the good we did, all of it, all of it… madness.
The numbers mean the same thing. “Maybe.” Maybe the core will melt through to the groundwater. Maybe the miners I’ve told to dig under the reactor will save millions of lives. Maybe I’m killing them for nothing. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to stop. But I can’t.
The fire we’re watching with our own eyes is giving off nearly twice the radiation released by the bomb in Hiroshima. And that’s every single hour. Hour after hour, 20 hours since the explosion, so 40 bombs worth by now. Forty-eight more tomorrow. And it will not stop. Not in a week, not in a month. It will burn and spread its poison until the entire continent is dead.