Saturday, September 3, 2011

Upcoming Films about Nuclear Power

This is a special post to cover all of the ongoing film projects about nuclear power that I'm aware of. Some of the developments that have motivated these labors of love (making an independent film) include the recent revival in interest in nuclear power plants and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. While I would love to write about all of the documentaries about nuclear power in the last decade (and maybe I will in another post), there are so many that I'm limiting this to works currently in development. My hope is that they will all be available for 2012 showings.

We have previously written about information sessions held to answer public questions about the Fukushima Daiichi impacts. This is the defining nuclear disaster for the current young generation in nuclear, and I believe that films are an excellent way of reaching a broader audience in the community. Indeed, most universities and communities will have some theaters interested in independent film fests and regular educational documentary showings. The films here are likely to be a great win-win for local nuclear power advocacy groups as well as small theaters. NC State has a vibrant campus cinema with significant involvement from the sustainability office.

Pandora's Promise

This film aims to address the changing dynamic of nuclear power and the environmental movement, the impact of Fukushima, and the big questions around nuclear power and society. It boasts original filming around the globe, has an impressive cast, and an experienced director. The vision seems grand and I am personally very curious as to how the director, Robert Stone, will put this all together. It appears that the funding level is in the several $100,000 range, which is probably a lot more than the rest of the films in this post.
  • Focus: Anti-nuclear orthodoxy being challenged
  • Release: Planned Early 2012
  • Length: Feature Length
  • Trailer: none that I'm aware of
  • Poster: none that I'm aware of
  • Donations: Currently accepting donations

Uncanny Terrain

Two Chicago-based filmmakers are following the events around organic farmers in the Tohoku region. Some of their youtube uploads include farmers who were outright displaced by the evacuation order, as well as those facing conflicts due to concerns about levels of radioactivity and selling their product. The plot follows specifically the Color of the Four Seasons Farm (unofficial translation) which is 45 miles away from the disaster. It starts from the spring planting season, and I imagine that the ending is as-of-yet unwritten even in real life. They are also collaborating with and safecast, which are groups trying to croudsource radiation mapping efforts (that I've mentioned on this blog before).

The Nuclear Option

The focus of this film is on the potential of nuclear to address our energy needs. It frames the debate in a very beautiful trailer seems to present nuclear in the context of our overall energy choices like Pandora's Promise. I like this part of the director's statement, "It almost seems as if the future of sustainable energy, and our economy at large remains trapped within the nucleus of an atom". So there you go.


The Shoreham plant has a unique place in history, as it was fully completed but never produced electricity after commercial operation was canceled in an arrangement between the government and the utility. It attracted very strong opposition, and this film goes behind those lines, analyzing the arguments against the plants, what factors lead to the final outcome, and the broader discussion about nuclear power.

This film effort has been releasing bits and pieces of the work over the last few months, you can find the videos on youtube and several updates on the Atomic Insights Blog. No word yet on other formats it can be obtained in. You can start from Chapter 1 and click through the rest. Or you can start the autoplay list.
(Edit) The SHOREHAM film was not complete when I wrote this. They have since posted a Chapter 9. I don't know how many it will go to, but you can still use that playlist link to access them all.(End Edit)

If there is any information that you feel is missing or inaccurate, please leave a comment.


  1. Just added Neutron Economy to my blog list and also tweeted about it. Thanks so much for posting this!

  2. Thanks Meredith!


    I have one sort of half-addition that was not included in this post. Tenner Films, I have confirmed, is making a film on nuclear, but they are apparently in pre-production, so there isn't much information to share about it.

  3. Take a look at this, it seems right up your street.

    I have developed figures and words to illustrate in simple fiscal common sense terms the utter fabrication that anything except nuclear can power a developed economy when fossil is gone, and just how much money alternatives that are far too weak to ever meet our needs and far too expensive in failing will cost us, when we should be investing scarce capital in nuclear research and development plus what we can build now ASAP. As are our BRIC competition who get it.

  4. Alan,
    There's also "Energy on Trial," which takes a close look at the costs and benefits of many energy sources and ends up concluding that nuclear is a pretty sensible option. More info and trailers are here:

    Nicole Stricker, Idaho National Laboratory

  5. There was at least one film crew at the Thorium Energy Alliance Spring 2011 conference in Washington.

  6. Wow, I'm amazed how easy it is to miss these. I will certainly be posting an update at some later time. To be clear, I will be adding at minimum these to the list:

    Before then I will have to bother all of these filmmakers on Twitter and other mediums to get info about posters, trailers and that sort of thing.

    Thank you for all the helpful comments.

  7. Here's the web site for "The Good Reactor" about the liquid fluoride thorium reactor.