- Explores and develops market-based solutions.
PANDORA'S PROMISE will be a feature-length documentary about the history and development of nuclear power and the current debate surrounding its revival as a means of averting a climate catastrophe. The film will be structured around key interviews with leading environmentalists, energy experts and former anti-nuclear activists who have undergone (or are undergoing) a conversion to nuclear power as a necessary and vital component to our future alternative energy mix. The film aims to use the heated debate surrounding nuclear power as a vehicle for taking a realistic and comprehensive look at the worlds energy dilemma, for examining the true costs of our current addiction to fossil fuels, and relative merits of the alternatives from an economic, technological and environmental perspective.
Director Robert Stone on location at the site of the world's first power generating nuclear reactor: Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 (EBR-I) in Idaho
Our current focus is on securing additional funding to commence production as soon as possible, as well as to more fully develop the project. We have determined that a central element to the story will be the development of the Integral Fast Reactor at Argonne National Labs between 1983 and 1994. We have been granted carte-blanche access to everyone who worked on this remarkable project. In a single decade, they were able to develop a new type of fast reactor that was incapable of a meltdown, was fueled by today's radioactive waste and weapons grade plutonium (no more uranium mining), was extremely proliferation proof, and was of a relatively simple, easily mass produced, modular design.
The project was terminated by President Clinton in a short-sighted political appeasement to the anti-nuclear special interests within the Democratic Party. The reactor was dismantled and everyone was let go and told not to speak of it to the public. It is now recognized as the best reactor design ever conceived and efforts are underway to revive the program. Word about this project has spread quietly and has been a major impetus behind so many former anti-nuclear activists changing their minds in support of nuclear power, Jim Hansen foremost among them.
On the funding side, we have received a $100,000 from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a $50,000 grant from the Small World Foundation, and a $150,000 initial investment from Impact Partners. Impact Partners is committed to put up to $450,000 into the project, perhaps a lot more. Work on that deal is currently underway. We are also taking the project to HBO and the Ford Foundation and are in discussions with broadcasters in both France and Britain.
March 2012 update:
We are happy to report that after an 18 month effort (interrupted by the events at Fukushima) we have finally achieved our funding goal of raising the nearly $1.2 million required to fully realize the film. We are now in the process of editing.
One of the most often used arguments currently put forth against investments in nuclear power is the issue of cost. Opponents of nuclear power cite the need for government subsidies which would take away money from renewable energy projects. As this film will demonstrate, those arguments are largely based on outdated information. A hard look at the facts as they now stand demonstrates that nuclear power is actually economically more advantageous on a per kilowatt hour basis than wind and solar energy, as well as natural gas and can survive and thrive even without subsidies. It cannot however compete with coal unless and until the cost of coal pollution, including CO2 emissions, is factored into the cost of burning fossil fuels through some market based mechanism. Once the real market costs are applied across all forms of energy, then nuclear becomes a highly attractive energy source.
The project is international in scope. The film will compare the experiences with nuclear power in several countries and provoke a realistic discussion about the pros and cons of various alternative energy sources. One central feature will be how government regulation and anti-nuclear litigation impacts on the economic viability of nuclear power in relation to other energy sources. For instance, Britain has recently changed its laws to take veto power away from local governments for nationally needed energy projects, specifically nuclear reactors, cutting the time required for the permitting process from 7 years to 1. The result is to put nuclear power on a more equal economic playing field with other energy sources. Such examples, among many others, could also be applied in the United States.
We hope to initiate a broad based outreach campaign centered around the theme "environmentalists for nuclear energy". This will involve a comprehensive website and social media presence. We also plan to use the film as the basis for a series of public debates and forums on the issue of energy and the role of nuclear power.
The film is to be followed up by broadcast by a major broadcaster (perhaps HBO) and VOD.
Project Link www.pandoraspromise.com
(Check sent: 7/7/2010)
(Check sent: 8/5/2011)