Pandora promised her mythological dad, Zeus, that she would never open the container he gave her. She opened it and released all manner of badness into the world. If the myth of Pandora’s box were about the energy that powers our lives, that badness would reek of coal, oil, and gas, as well as nuclear energy and even solar and wind, whatever. Everything comes at a cost.
The film “Pandora’s Promise” does something very important for environmentalist discourse -- actually, for any intelligent discourse. It dares to challenge prevailing wisdom. This documentary dares to promote a resurgence of nuclear power, which had been essentially relegated to a tenuous solution status.
The nuclear power industry hardly needs a little documentary to fire its big corporate guns into a bigger place in our energy futures. Whoever is behind the argument, it can’t be easily dismissed. Curiously, to make its case, influential voices need to admit that fossil fuels are bad, bad, bad, be it global climate change or more immediate assaults on human health and wellbeing.
Only nuclear energy, to distill the pith of the argument, can supply enough sufficiently green energy soon enough for us to have any hope of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels in a timely way. See “Pandora’s Promise” to hear its robust reasoning. See “Pandora’s Promise,” as well, to consider that maybe their argument isn’t good enough.
I’ll tip my hand and say I still lean toward better answers than resurgent nuclear power, but this film definitely calls up a complex debate. I’ll suggest that wind and solar deployed with strategic integration cannot be fairly dismissed as supplemental. I’ll suggest that nuclear’s land use is less multi-use than solar and wind, and nuclear is more constricting and devastating in its footprint. I’ll suggest that committing intellectual and monetary capital to nuclear siphons urgent dedication to better solutions. I’ll suggest that government should not be expected to guarantee the coverage of risks (and can’t, really) that are the only way a nuclear industry even exists.
Don’t take my suggestions. See “Pandora’s Promise.” Providing a sustainable future for our grandchildren is, by no means, a simple discussion.