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Wed, May 27, 2015
West End Word

Reviews by Kent Tentschert and Carol Hemphill
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Pandora's Promise

Genre: Documentary
Rating: This film is not rated.
Grade: B+
Reviewer: Kent Tentschert
Opening at an anti-nuclear power rally, protesters with bullhorns inform listeners of the dangers of nuclear power: cancer dangers, weaponization and the myriad of deaths that have occurred from nuclear accidents. They tout the need to convert to solar and wind power – but their reasoning is faulty.
“Pandora’s Promise” uses the words of well-known anti-nuclear authors and activists who have done their research to find the truth behind the myths and mis-information.
Stewart Brand is an environmentalist and author of “The Whole Earth Catalog.” Richard Rhodes is a Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” Gwyneth Cravens is author of “The Power to Save the World.” Mark Lynas is an international environmentalist. Michael Shellenberger is the president and co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, a leading environmental group that has been influencing the environmental movement for many years.
Each of these prominent environmentalists were anti-nuclear...until they stopped focusing on the dangers of nuclear power and started looking into the whole story. What they found is a truth that few know, some dispute and of which many are unaware.
The fallacy in moving from oil and coal to wind and solar is that these two alternatives cannot come close to sustaining even our current energy needs, while the projected world needs are believed to double in the next 50 years and triple by the end of the century.
The myth that we will be reducing our energy usage is a myth. An iPhone uses the same amount of energy with its processors and the servers used for running programs, as a refrigerator.
Energy use is found to reflect the socioeconomics of a country, with the higher the usage equaling a higher status, thus third world countries who are able to skip using coal, to oil, to gas and go directly to sustainable nuclear will not only save the environment, but also vault these countries into opportunities they would not have for many decades.
According to Michael Shellenberger nuclear must be part of the environmental solution. There has never been a death in the United States from nuclear power – ever. And although environmentalists are telling onlookers that Chernobyl killed millions, the actual confirmed death toll currently stands at 50 people.
The next generation of nuclear power plant is not only more efficient, it is designed to withstand environmental turmoil and problems that caused the Three-Mile Island incident – a cooling breakdown. In addition, these new nuclear plants use the nuclear waste from the previous generations of plants as fuel for these new plants.
Whether the information in this documentary is skewed, selectively used or absolutely dead-on, it is none-the-less compelling when we are faced with the facts that our energy usage is increasing and alternatives cannot close the energy gap.
Through fascinating interviews, historical data and plenty of facts, this persuasive film will at least give one pause when faced with a grim future of ever-increasing energy needs.
“Pandora’s Promise” is one of those “must see” documentaries, as each of us must decide, as these newly-informed environmentalists have, that the truth is stronger than “friction.”
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