For the record, I’m not very political, nor would I categorize myself as an environmentalist. I’m also keenly aware when I’m being manipulated by documentaries that have an agenda. With that said, I found the nuclear power doc PANDORA’S PROMISE, a 2013 SUNDANCE Official Selection, rather enlightening (pun intended) and utterly absorbing (another pun). 

The documentary is obviously skewed toward a pro-nuclear power agenda and it makes no bones about it and like most people when I hear the word “nuclear” I just want to duck & cover. But man, do they have some compelling arguments that by the end had me really thinking about this much maligned source of power. 

The tact that PANDORA’S PROMISE takes is to introduce us to a number of renowned environmentalists that had a change of heart about the technology when they dug a little deeper and peeled back the onion a little more than they had before. Some of these were staunch anti-nuclear protestors and risked their integrity by speaking out in favor of nuclear power. 

The argument that I found most compelling was that the power plants themselves were always improving and looking for cleaner and safer ways to use splitting the atom for power. There are even ways to recycle the by-product of the power, to use the nuclear waste as part of the system itself. Nuclear power plants have come a long way since Chernobyl and Three Mile Island and even if it proves fruitless, it seems time to take another look at their potential. 

I also found it quite interesting that in essence we have been sold a bill of goods in regards to the promise of wind and solar energy. What the documentary tells us is that these two “clean energies” are not without substantial problems and still rely on gas in order to provide the energy needed to match our energy needs. 

Yes, I realize that a lot of this rhetoric was extremely one sided, but how do you argue with the fact that we as a society are exponentially consuming more power as each year passes and many of the other power options rely on us limiting or reducing energy consumption. 

Ultimately, everyone is going to have their own opinion. I myself like to collect information and make balanced and educated decisions. So with that said, PANDORA’S PROMISE is worth a look even if you are 100% anti-nuclear power. If you’re so sure of your convictions than hearing the other side of the argument should not be a problem. Or like the subjects of this fascinating documentary, you may re-examine your core beliefs.


AUGUST 19, 2014