energy does not burn fossil fuels, nor is it intermittent. Appreciation of these obvious, incontrovertible
facts led documentarian Robert Stone and five well known environmental
activists to reverse their longstanding opposition to nuclear power. Stone convincingly lays out their green case
for nuclear in Pandora’s Promise (clip here), which screens
during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City.
made his name with the anti-nuclear doc Radio
Bikini and would further burnish his green credentials with Earth Days. Very concerned about global warming, Stone could
no longer accept the environmental movement’s unrealistic claims about solar
and wind power. As his primary POV
experts argue, any power plan with a significant wind or solar component will
by necessity be heavily dependent on big dirty fossil fuel plants as a
back-up. The simple truth is the sun
does not always shine and the wind does not always blow, but coal burns 24-7.
his credit, Stone tackles the Fukushima disaster right up front, rather than
let it fester in the minds of skeptical audience members. While the devastation of the area gives pause
to noted British environmental author and nuclear convert Mark Lynas, the
background radiation levels they record are considerably less than what anyone
flying on a transatlantic commercial flight would be exposed to.
battery of experts cogently explains the safety benefits and relative
cleanliness of nuclear. Yes, radioactive
waste is a potentially inconvenient by-product, but the volume is a fraction of
what the public widely assumes.
Furthermore, next generation reactors will be increasingly able to
recycle the existing nuclear waste, as is already happening in France. Of course, there have been disasters, but
Chernobyl was the worst by far. A
sterling example of Soviet safety engineering, the Pripyat plant completely
lacked any basic containment dome, whereas western reactors have multiple domes
with elaborate built in contingency systems.
Surely some will try, but it is impossible to
dismiss Stone as a right-of-center partisan.
Clearly, the Pandora contributors
are entirely satisfied global warming is a very real and alarming phenomenon. Indeed, that is largely the impetus for their
nuclear apostasy. Considering how many
cold shoulders Stone, Lynas, and company are likely to get from former comrades
at cocktail parties, their conviction cannot be questioned. Their logic is also sound and
consistent. Highly recommended for
anyone with an open mind self-identifying with the environmental cause (broadly
defined), Pandora’s Promise screens
again tonight (1/24) in Park City and Saturday (1/26) in Salt Lake as a Doc
Premiere at this year’s Sundance.
Labels: Documentary, Nuclear Power, Sundance '13