Valentina Oberemko, "AiF": Evgeny Pavlovich, during the Soviet era in the field of science we were "ahead of the rest of the planet." Where is our place today? After all, you often hear that we are lagging behind - both from the West and from China.
Evgeny Velikhov: I do not understand and do not accept these "competitions" in science. People who enjoy the fruits of technological progress, for some reason, do not think about the fact that these fruits are available to all of them. They are more concerned with the question of who invented these fruits, we or the Americans. What's the difference?! In Soviet times, a family had to queue for years for a telephone to be brought into their apartment. And now every child has his own device in his pocket.
Yes, America is strong in gadgets. We tried to work in this direction. If you remember, Chubais even showed a double-sided tablet. But in science, each country finds its own niche. For the United States, these are gadgets, while Russia has always been strong in fundamental issues, energy. And energy is the blood vessels of the entire system of the country. I am authoritative: in this area we work at a very high level.
- How secure will it be? Is the planet threatened with something worse than Chernobyl? Especially if the reactor, as you say, will stand in every yard.
- Absolutely safe. I took part in the liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident and I perfectly understand what it is. I remember that day well. I went out into the yard and saw our neighbor, nuclear physicist Valery Legasov. He told me what happened in Chernobyl, said that he was flying there to assess the situation. Then no one knew for certain the scale of the tragedy. I went to a meeting with Nikolai Ryzhkov, who was then the head of government. The latter asked: “Evgeny Pavlovich, shouldn't I go and see what’s there? The first group is already running out of the maximum permissible radiation dose. " The maximum allowable dose for employees of the Kurchatov Institute was then set to 100 roentgens.
I flew to Chernobyl for a month and a half. On the first day, he flew around the station several times by helicopter. And I saw that there was simply no reactor - it collapsed. I insisted on creating a fuel trap under the reactor. Many did not agree, but then it was decided to concretize this area. After Chernobyl, all reactors were modernized - they made such traps under them. It is not known exactly what dose of radiation I received in Chernobyl. Later in Japan, I was tested for chromosomes (after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese created a medical center that conducted such a study). About 100 roentgens came out on it. I was shown how my chromosomes were destroyed. They were literally split in half. Yes, before Chernobyl, people did not realize the full danger of nuclear reactors, but today everything is done taking into account the accumulated knowledge. Russia in this whole history is assigned one of the key roles - it can become a manufacturer and supplier of fuel for these reactors, because there is a huge amount of thorium on our Earth. So the competitiveness of Russia will increase significantly.
- You said that world scientists often work together without looking back at politics. But take the story of the coronavirus vaccines. How many times have we already heard about "Sputnik V": "Your vaccine is not like that, we will not let it in." And this is at the moment when humanity would have to unite in order to quickly cope with a common misfortune!
- The story with vaccines is tied primarily to the money of pharmaceutical companies. For example, our whole family was vaccinated with the Russian vaccine, which was made in Novosibirsk. And the residents of other countries can only dream about vaccination - also because our developments are not accepted there. There is both political interest and selfishness of those who run states. But the pandemic has shown that cooperation is essential. Even China has had to become more open. I think we will come to an agreement after all.
Look, on the one hand, we are all threatened by a pandemic, and on the other hand, an even more terrible thing has not been removed from the agenda: the use of nuclear weapons. Can we be sure that something like that in August 1945 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki will not happen again? But we agreed with the Americans on the limitation of strategic arms. Because everyone understands: increasing them is suicide and absolute stupidity. And on vaccines, I think we'll come to an agreement. All scientists understand that a consensus is needed. But politicians have not yet reached this understanding. In my opinion, issues affecting the fate of humanity should be separated from the political struggle. Scientists are trying to do this, but politicians need to learn just not to interfere with them. Of course, there has been and will be competition between countries. As a rule, it is associated with economic power. I am not a seer, but everything in the world is going to the point that at a fundamental, universal level, all these temporary contradictions, "arms races" in science will disappear.
The introduction of vaccine passports as a pass to normal life, announced by the EU leadership, caused controversy and excitement.
Will a vaccination certificate become a prerequisite for travel, which vaccines will be approved for new certificates, what are the privileges and risks - they are discussing in the European media.
There is a grain of skepticism in the tone of many publications. Like, in theory, it all looks smooth, but how it will be in practice is unclear.
According to Politico, covid certificates should theoretically help ease border restrictions and revive travel. The key word is theoretically. In reality, everything is more complicated.
There are still many scientific, technical and political obstacles, including the failure of leaders to agree on the basic question of what exactly the certificates will be used for, the newspaper notes.
From a technical point of view, it will take three months to develop a new technology (that is, vaccine passports will be introduced by the summer).
"But there is a more serious logistical problem: even now, very few people in the EU are actually vaccinated (just over 6 percent, - Ed.), and the leaders I have no way to immediately fix it," writes Politico ...
"It looks like a COVID trap," one EU diplomat told the publication.
The idea of covid-certifacts is seen as fiction being brought to life.
"Until recently, only conspiracy theorists scared each other with vaccine passports. Now the world is seriously discussing whether such a document will help open the borders for travelers," writes the BBC.