Marvelous, Nuclear is not one of Oliver Stone’s “devil’s advocate” documentaries, a spate of films he began making in the early 2000s that seemed to troll liberals everywhere, spending time with notorious human rights violators like Fidel Castro , Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin. In the real world, nuclear energy is now about as toxic as these three combined, but this clever and surprising film is an investigation into how this PR damage happened, perhaps making it more like his famous conspiracy thriller. Kennedy than any of them. At almost two hours, it’s a heavy hour dominated by Stone’s thick monotonous voice and featuring scientists barely on screen (which explains a lot about Adam McKay’s decision to shoot). Don’t look up with A-sheets). Nevertheless, he puts forward a lot of unexpected proposals for nuclear power, debunking powerful myths along the way.
It begins with a very intense prologue that actually sets the pace at a frenetic pace, in which Stone tells a very modern history of his subject, beginning with the discovery of radium by Marie Curie in 1898. in 1945 after the double bombing of Japan, but by 1953 President Eisenhower was talking about it with his famous “Atoms for Peace” speech at the United Nations. Nuclear weapons were supposed to be the way forward, for now, who else? – The fossil fuel lobby disagreed with its benefits and paid lobbyists to defame it. By the 1970s, this work paid off, and when the Three Mile Island reactor melted down in 1979, a disaster film was made that same year. Chinese Syndrome. was in cinemas – rock stars gave No Nukes concerts, and Jane Fonda set the task of closing the entire program.
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Stone plays his hand early with very blunt guilt. “I, too, once believed that environmentalists were right and that nuclear power was dangerous,” he says. “In a way, we were horribly miseducated, subconsciously confusing nuclear war with nuclear power.” He has a strong point of view. “People don’t think well when they are scared,” he adds, “and fear kills the mind.” The reason Stone seems to have changed his mind is simple: climate change, which has recently replaced the threat of nuclear war as a thundercloud looming over modern society. And he makes a very valid point: nuclear power is clean, cheap, and much safer than its bad reputation suggests—although the Fukushima accident in 2011 was quite serious, most of its casualties were the result of the tsunami that caused it. Indeed, as with the much more sinister Chernobyl, the main factor was poor design and human error (the rest of the Japanese reactors survived).
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Stone admits that nuclear power is uphill battle in emerging markets – China and India are particularly stubborn – although his thesis starts to falter when he praises the virtues of the Russians (the film was clearly made before the shocking events in Ukraine brought back the specter of Chernobyl and many others). potential horrors). But though sometimes it feels like you’re being hit on the head with a rolled up copy New scientist (and the late Vangelis’ soothing synths can’t do anything about it) it’s a sometimes inspiring movie to dive into making the amazing claim that young people, once the most active in the campaign against everything nuclear, now support it (we’ve even come across “nuclear power authority” who posts on TikTok). Stone sees this as the way forward, and experts seem to agree—or, as nuclear entrepreneur Caroline Cochran put it, “for the younger generation, climate change is more important than worry about nuclear war.”
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