Monday, June 24, 2013

Pro-nuke "Pandora's Promise" sparks national debate

Since it premiered last winter at the Sundance Film Festival, my friends at the Idaho National Laboratory have been sharing every post they can find about "Pandora's Promise," a documentary that casts nuclear power in a favorable light.

This should come as no surprise. With the exception of Arco, I don't think you'll find a more pro-nuclear community on the face of the earth than Idaho Falls. Our city owes a lot to the Atomic Energy Commission and its decision in 1949 to locate its National Reactor Testing Station on the desert to the west. The work that has gone on there since then has been controversial at times but nevertheless extraordinary.

Anyway, any movie that premieres at Sundance usually starts being seen by the rest of the world five or six months afterward, which means that's also when you start seeing movie reviews and online discussions. This weekend I noticed a piece on about "Pandora's Promise," which I found interesting. I'll post the link -- -- and invite those of you interested in such things to read it and the comments.

Likewise, the film has begun to get some ink (or whatever the Web equivalent is) on the New York Times Web site. Today we see an article by Richard Rhodes, who has written an exhaustive four-part history of the nuclear age (if you're looking for a power read, try the first book, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb.") Rhodes has come to the conclusion that nuclear power is essential to our effort to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. He also has a clear take on why nuclear power has such vehement opposition.

"Nuclear testing, nuclear crisis and nuclear power were all born together in the long wake of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. I’m not surprised that the clean and peaceful technology, which today provides about 13.5 percent of world electricity without air pollution or greenhouse gases, was tarred with the same brush as the Bomb. I am surprised, however, that idealistic, intelligent people who want to clean up the air and limit global warming are opposed to nuclear power. They might as well be out there promoting fossil fuels. In effect, they are."