Pandora’s Propaganda

A film premeiring at Sundance Film Festival in the US has been heavily promoted as “environmentalist turned pro-nuclear”, mostly by nuclear industry media sources. This is a very old political tactic taking the opponent and turning them into a supporter. Critics of the films Director Robert Stone claim he was never really anti-nuclear power, more against nuclear weapons so his supposed about face really isn’t what it is being promoted to be.

The film makes a number of claims that all fit the standard corporate talking points of the nuclear power industry.

  • Renewables can’t provide enough energy
  • The world needs more energy than it currently consumes
  • Dismisses the risks of nuclear power by comparing it to fossil fuel dangers
  • Citing nuclear as “the solution” to climate change

Of course the “answer” in the film is to build more nuclear reactors.

The advocates that Stone cites as environmentalists turned pro nuclear power is mostly people who have changed their public views on various issues many times or didn’t have serious involvement in opposing nuclear power in the first place. Since who is an environmentalist is a very subjective title, nobody hands out an environmentalist membership card, the claim is fairly frivilous. One such person quoted in the film is Mark Lynas. Lynas has also recently come out in favor of GMO foods after opposing their use. Most of Lynas’s work has been critical of any actual environmental change suggested as solutions and seems to always go back to a twisted status-quo support for environmental issues.

So who funded the film? Pandora’s Promise doesn’t want to say. They were seeking funding through the nuclear power industry sources back in 2011.  IMDB estimates the film had a million dollar budget, fairly big for a documentary. The Walker Foundation cites the film’s partnership with The Breakthrough Institute whose purpose is to promote nuclear power. Impact Partners is also listed as a funding source but they do not actually fund films, they gather donations and forward them to the film budget, leaving who actually funded this portion in the dark. Since this source appears to be the largest single contributor it does raise questions. The Walker Foundation itself, couched among some very nice sounding mission statements supports a fairly libertarian “free market” pro-business approach to environment issues. The Walker Foundation heavily invests in promoting nuclear power.

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