“Pandora’s False Promises
Pandora’s Promise, is a new pro-nuclear propaganda documentary released theatrically in the US in July 2013. It is funded in part by individuals with a vested interest in seeing the development of new reactors and is seemingly a vehicle by which to raise the profile of the anti-environmental Oakland think tank, The Breakthrough Institute, whose personnel feature prominently in the film. Despite the film’s premise and early claim that it features “a growing number of leading former anti-nuclear activists” who now support nuclear energy, no one in the film ever led the anti-nuclear movement. Nor was any credible, independent scientific or medical professional with expertise in the areas covered in the film consulted or featured. Beyond Nuclear has bird-dogged the film from the beginning, and has produced numerous critiques. We have also published a definitive report – Pandora’s False Promises: Busting the pro-nuclear propaganda – and a two-page synopsis. These documents address virtually all of the myths, lies and omissions typically found in pro-nuclear rhetoric and are intended to address these long after Pandora’s Promise fades into deserved oblivion.”
- Nuclear power, no matter the reactor design, cannot address climate change intime. In order to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil fuel generation, another 1,000 to 1,500 new 1,000+ Megawatt reactors would need to come on line worldwide by 2050, a completely prohibitive proposition.
- So-called “Generation IV” reactor designs, including “fast” or “small modular reactors,” are the last gasp of a failing industry. Earlier versions of the fast breeder reactor were commercial failures and safety disasters. The ever soaring costs make nuclear power a financial quagmire for investors, and expensive new prototypes commercially unattractive.
- Proponents of the Integral Fast Reactor, overlook the exorbitant costs; proliferation risks; that it theoretically “transmutes,” rather than eliminates, radioactive waste; that it is decades away from deployment; and that its use of sodium as a coolant can lead to fires and explosions.
- The continued daily use of nuclear power means continued risk of radiation exposure to surrounding populations, especially children who are vulnerable to leukemia when living close to reactors. Ionizing radiation released by nuclear power plants, either routinely or in large amounts, causes cellular damage and mutations in DNA, which in turn can lead to cancers and other illnesses.
- Low-ball health predictions after nuclear accidents are not reliable. The 2005 IAEA/WHO Chernobyl health report has been discredited for suppressing key data to justify low death predictions that do not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Furthermore, the IAEA has a mandate to promote nuclear technology. Given the long latency period of cancers caused by radiation exposure, it is too soon to accurately predict the ultimate health impacts from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, although some health effects are already being observed.
- The example of Germany — and numerous studies — demonstrates that both coal and nuclear can be phased out in favor of renewable energy. Jobs are more plentiful and enduring in the renewable sector. In Germany, renewable energy already employs 380,000 people compared to 30,000 in the nuclear sector.
- The argument that only nuclear provides “carbon-free,” base load energy is out of date. Geothermal and offshore wind energy are capable of delivering reliable base load power with a smaller carbon footprint than nuclear energy. Energy efficiency is also an essential component in displacing nuclear and coal.