Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Pandora's Promise": Nuclear power might be the least bad choice

Back in 1978, my last full year living in a cozy apartment in New York City, I tried to run a chapter of Dan Fry’s group “Understanding”, and I attracted to the group a woman, Barbara Charles, who was quite determined to recruit everyone to her singular cause, to go around the country in a van and rally up populist support to close down all nuclear power plants.  I wondered, why should we all give up everything else just for “your” issue.
   
The film “Pandora’s Promise”, by Robert Stone, documents a change of heart among some sicentists and pundits against nuclear power.  Coal has become so dreadful, and natural gas requires fracking, and solar and wind seem miniscule (and solar is resource intensive to set up, using tremendous amounts of land and raw materials).  That leaves us with nuclear.  And it turns out that, even given Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and Fukushima, nuclear has a habit of being safe for people.
  
One could question that with Fukushima, which melted down after the Japan tsunami in March 2011, leaving much of the land uninhabitable.  The film visits the abandoned cities and apartments around Chernobyl, can claims there is actually little personal injury or loss of life from the event, and that some people still choose to live in the area.  One can wonder if the San Onofre plant north of San Diego could have exposure to tsunami (see the Issues blog, May 19, 2012, personal trip).  
  
The film makes the point that a cubic inch or so of uranium could power your entire life (and shows the equivalent volume of coal – no doubt obtained by mountaintop removal) .  But how much ore needs to be mined to get that cubic inch or radioactive metal?
  
The film features several speakers,, including Gwyneth Cravens, and Michael Shellenberger, who is particularly appealing.
   
The official site is here. IMDB lists the film as distributed by CNN, so it will probably air soon as a Sunday night special on CNN, which has entered the documentary film distribution business.  I saw this Monday night in a medium sized auditorium at the Landmark E Street in Washington before a small crowd.   
  
  
To see a review of CNN Filoms’s “Girl Rising”, by Richard Robbins, please see the TV Reviews Blog, June 17, 2013.  It had aired Sunday night on CNN. 


Picture: Indian Point nuclear generating station, on Hudson River, north of NYC, my picture, July 2011/  

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