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Pandoras Promise

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Robert Stone

Robert Stone

Robert Stone

United States



Music director
Gary Lionelli



Pandoras Promise movie poster

Release date
June 12, 2013

Stewart Brand
Gwyneth Cravens
Mark Lynas
Richard Rhodes
Michael Shellenberger
Charles Till

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At the bottom of the box she found hope.

Pandora s promise official trailer 1 2013 nuclear power documentary hd

Pandora's Promise is a 2013 documentary film about the nuclear power debate, directed by Robert Stone. Its central argument is that nuclear power, which still faces historical opposition from environmentalists, is a relatively safe and clean energy source which can help mitigate the serious problem of anthropogenic global warming. In fact, according to records at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Villigen (Canton of Aargau), Switzerland, nuclear power has never caused a death in an OECD country. According to the report that UNSCEAR presented to the UN General Assembly in 2011, concerning Chernobyl, that accident was responsible for 46 deaths. So nuclear power is not just "relatively safe," it is the safest-ever way to make electricity, by a very wide margin.


Pandoras Promise movie scenes

The title is derived from the ancient Greek myth of Pandora, who released numerous evils into the world, yet as the movie's tagline recalls: "At the bottom of the box she found hope."

Pandoras Promise movie scenes


Pandoras Promise movie scenes

The movie features several notable individuals who were once vehemently opposed to nuclear power but who now speak in favor of it, including Stewart Brand, Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas, Richard Rhodes and Michael Shellenberger.

Pandoras Promise movie scenes

Anti-nuclear advocate Helen Caldicott is questioned and along with Harvey Wasserman appears briefly at the beginning. Historic clips of Jane Fonda, Ralph Nader and Amory Lovins speaking are used.

Richard Branson is credited as an executive producer, as are Paul and Jody Allen, whose production company, Vulcan Productions, helped provide financial support. A total of $1.2 million (US) was raised to finance the film, "particularly through Impact Partners, which provides documentary financing from individual investors. Mr. Stone said the money came mainly from wealthy “tech heads” who have worked in Silicon Valley."


Topics mentioned or discussed in the film include:

  • dosimetry
  • background radiation
  • naturally occurring radioactive material
  • Guarapari, Brazil: monazite-bearing black sand beach
  • Radium Springs, New Mexico: radium-rich water
  • banana equivalent dose
  • dosimeter
  • tritium
  • effects of global warming
  • history of the anti-nuclear movement
  • history of nuclear weapons
  • atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • Megatons to Megawatts Program
  • nuclear proliferation
  • nuclear weapons testing
  • nuclear and radiation accidents
  • Three Mile Island accident
  • Chernobyl disaster
  • Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment (publication)
  • Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster
  • nuclear power in France
  • nuclear power in the United States
  • Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
  • nuclear reactors
  • generation III reactor
  • generation IV reactor
  • integral fast reactor
  • Experimental Breeder Reactor I
  • Experimental Breeder Reactor II
  • small modular reactor
  • thorium fuel cycle
  • traveling wave reactor
  • USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
  • Hyman G. Rickover
  • Multimedia

    Stock footage and movie clips are used throughout Pandora's Promise to enhance the narrative. Scenes are shown of a No Nukes concert (1979), Margaret Thatcher addressing the United Nations General Assembly (1989), and from the drafting of the Kyoto Protocol (1997). Movie/TV sources include: A Is for Atom (1953), Our Friend the Atom (1957), The China Syndrome (1979), and The Simpsons (1991).

    The film poster depicts a piece of metallic enriched uranium ("actual size" as printed) with the caption "What if this cube could power your entire life?"


    In January 2013 it was shown at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. In March 2013 it was shown at the True/False Film Festival. In June 2013 it won the Sheffield Doc/Fest Green Award for best addressing environmental challenges.

    In April 2013, it was announced that CNN Films had obtained the US television rights to Pandora's Promise; it was shown on CNN in the US on November 7, 2013 and seen by 345,000 viewers. It was released on Region 2 DVD in December 2013. A DVD via Alive Mind Cinema was announced for 24 June 2014. It is also available via various digital distribution services.


    Reactions to the film have been mixed, if not polarized; e.g.:

  • Kennette Benedict from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists states: "Nuclear power may indeed end up being part of the energy mix that leads to both a more stable climate and adequate livelihoods around the world. But the challenges posed by nuclear power – like the risk of weapons proliferation and reactor accidents, and the need to securely store radioactive used fuel for many generations – are not adequately addressed in the film."
  • Manohla Dargis wrote a somewhat critical review.
  • Friends of the Earth Australia has (among other groups) denounced the movie as "propaganda".
  • Owen Gleiberman lauded it as "radically sane".
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. characterized it as an "elaborate hoax" and a "big lie".
  • Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists was critical of various "less-than-half truths".
  • Michael Moore discussed the film (among other topics) with director Robert Stone in front of an audience at the Traverse City Film Festival in July 2013.
  • John Quiggin comments that Pandora’s Promise presents the environmental rationale for nuclear power, but that reviving nuclear power debates is a distraction, and the main problem with the nuclear option is that it is not economically-viable. Quiggin says that we need more energy efficiency and more renewable energy commercialization.
  • David Ropeik found it praiseworthy.
  • Christine Todd Whitman described it as "a very important, impactful film that should be seen by as wide an audience as possible."
  • Terry Tempest Williams stated "this film’s strength was not that it changed my mind, which it did not, but that it expanded it".
  • Eric Zorn noted shortcomings, but hailed it as "the most important movie about the environment since An Inconvenient Truth".
  • References

    Pandora's Promise Wikipedia
    Pandoras Promise IMDb Pandoras Promise

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