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Gorbachev: Japan Nuke Accidents Cannot Reach Chernobyl Scale

ChernobylMOSCOW. March 15 (Interfax) - Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on Tuesday excluded the possibility of recent accidents at Japanese nuclear power plants caused by powerful earthquakes reaching the scale of the Chernobyl disaster.

"A Chernobyl scenario is impossible, though it is reminiscent of Chernobyl," Gorbachev told reporters.

"I thought the safety measures would help the Japanese evade an explosion, but it turned out more difficult," he said. "Just yesterday they were saying nothing would happen but today (radioactive) clouds have broken out and everyone is wearing masks."

Gorbachev mentioned that there had been a global movement against building nuclear plants in various countries and that Green Cross International, an environmental organization founded by him, was one of those involved in the campaign.

"However, as the saying goes, one needs to bake pies and melt steel, and one has to choose locations (for the construction of nuclear plants). But in Japan that's difficult," Gorbachev said.

He said "it's difficult to place blames" for the Japanese accidents, "especially because the Japanese have done such a great deal for the safety of their nuclear power plants."

He credited the Japanese with "great self-control."

"I'm sorry that thousands of people have been killed. I brought my condolences to the Japanese Embassy on the second day of the tragedy. And it's very good that Russia has been one of the first to respond to the Japanese tragedy and is helping Japan," he said.

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