Pandora’s box: “When Prometheus stole fire from heaven, Zeus took vengeance by presenting Pandora to Epimetheus, Prometheus’ brother. With her, Pandora was given a beautiful jar – with instructions not to open it under any circumstance. Impelled by her curiosity (given to her by the gods), Pandora opened it, and all evil contained therein escaped and spread over the earth. She hastened to close the container, but the whole contents had escaped, except for one thing that lay at the bottom – the Spirit of Hope named Elpis.”(Per Wikipedia – Pandora’s box)
The nuclear advertising film ‘ Pandora’s Promise’ will be showing around Australia, and in Edinburgh and London in the next couple of weeks. It is largely funded by people from the pro nuclear Breakthrough Institute, including people like Bill Gates, who has his own nuclear power company Terra Power. It is directed by passionate nuclear enthusiast, Robert Stone, who does Q and A afterwards, and over-talks any critical questioners.
The film initially discusses the “downside” of the nuclear industry’s history, using previous accidents to prove the safety of new nuclear. It singles out supposed leading anti nuclear activists who now are pro nuclear. However, not one of these has genuine anti nuclear credentials. Names include Stewart Brandon who now runs a pro nuclear think tank.No one in the film ever led the anti-nuclear movement.
- mocks anti nuclear opinions as a bunch extremists and zealots. It makes no effort to portray any sensible opposing opinion.
- minimises the health effects of ionising radaiation with downright untruths, for instance, telling us only that Chernobyl killed 56 people. It leaves out that a United Nations World Health Organization agency predicts 16,000 more will die from Chernobyl cancers and that the European Environment Agency estimates 34,000 more. It omits that non-fatal thyroid cancer struck another 6,000, mostly children
- does not mention the crippling economics that is now closing nuclear plants in USA (Florida, Wisconsin and California), nor the imperative for tax-payer subsidy
- does not mention insurance: the nuclear industry, alone among industries is exempt from risk through USA’s Price Anderson Act, as well as every home owner’s insurance policy stating that this policy does not compensate you for any radiation damage from a nuclear power plant.
The film moves on to promotion of new nuclear power plants. In this discussion it
- avoids the economics of Small Nuclear reactors (SMRs) Even under the best of circumstances, there will be no SMR prototype for as long as a decade or more. There are serious questions over the economics of mass producing these, over their safety, and the huge costs of maintaining security over thousands of little nuclear reactors scattered around the land. None of this is discussed in the film.
- promotes Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) – fast breeder reactors. but doesn’t mention the past failure of these, in USA , France (Super Phoenix) Japan (Monju), and their enormous cost.
- Dishonestly minimises the nuclear waste problems of IFR’s. Film does not explain that the final wastes, while smaller in volume, are far more radioactive and dangerous than existing nuclear wastes, and therefore require the same amount of storage space and security.
This film has been described by Robert F Kennedy as an “elaborate hoax”