Does anyone really know what nuclear is, or what it really does? If we’re being honest, I didn’t know anything about it. And sure you’ll hear some people say that nuclear is a good thing and you’ll hear the opposite from the others, but nuking nuclear would be beneficial if we don’t want to hurt our planet as well as ourselves.
Full Body Burden by Kristen Iversen talks about the “Nuclear Family”, from her perspective and what it felt like growing up near Rocky Flats, a nuclear power plant. It’s a gripping memoir that switches from destructive family secrets (her father’s alcoholism), “When my mother asks me later if we stopped at the liquor store, I say no. I know what not to say, what subjects are taboo, and what secrets must remain secrets.” As well as the destructive government secrets (cancer); “Dow Chemical has left Rocky Flats after two decades of accidents, plutonium releases, and safety problems, most of which are still hidden under the cloak of Cold War secrecy. Now that Rockwell has stepped in, it’s business as usual.” I really enjoyed the tone, and the personal connection makes the reader, at least in my case, care more about the effects of nuclear. It’s when the fire breaks out on Mother’s Day that sets the start of the story forward because of all the plutonium released into the atmosphere.
While Full Body Burden is a personal account on nuclear energy, the documentary Into Eternity discusses the effects nuclear emissions have and the damage it can cause showing the waste management at Onkalo. It’s scary because just like in Full Body Burden the results that can occur with the use of nuclear power is serious. There were the cases of cancer spreading in children throughout the small town of Rocky Flats, Colorado, and the fact that people exposed to the nuclear waste won’t realize they’re sick until it’s too late.
Into Eternity does a very good job at depicting the harmful effects of nuclear power visually. The overall tone is very ominous and doom and gloom. There is one thing in particular that the director, Michael Madsen, does that is very powerful and really encapsulates the message the film is trying to get across. He lights a match and speaks directly into the camera while he’s “in a place you shouldn’t be,” and talks until the light goes out and the viewer is left looking into darkness. It’s creepy and I got to admit it made me feel like I was watching some sort of horror flick, which is what I take to be the point. The documentary is from an objective point of view, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective. In fact with dreary undertone and dark colors, it makes it more effective.
Even after all this, still some people will tell you to use nuclear energy. They’ll say it’s better for the planet than carbon emissions and it’s what we as a society should look into to fix the climate change problem. On April 22, 2015, CNN posted this article, “Obama should embrace nuclear energy” by U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, that dismissed the Obama Administration because they weren’t moving forward with nuclear energy to use as the climate change solution. The article talks about how much better nuclear is than carbon, but fails to mention why Obama would not use nuclear or its downsides. It clearly paints the picture that nuclear energy is our solution without showing what Into Eternity brought into light.
This time lapse video of every nuclear explosion since 1945 is a must watch, especially if you’re on the fence about the use of nuclear energy. It’s slow going at first and is fifteen minutes long, but the ticking before the explosions go off is almost as creepy and effective as Into Eternity. As the video moves further and further along, the ticking increases as well as the explosions and it’s just really powerful to watch as the nuclear explosions reflect the time progression.
However the most powerful short film we watched had to be Blind. Watching this horrible version of a contaminated future was downright depressing, not to mention the story behind it. The most moving moment was when the backdrop changed and he was left alone with his deceased daughter. I think the quote at the end of the film best exemplifies the truth about nuclear and why we need to be more aware of what’s going on, “Turning away from today’s reality will blind our future.”
After watching and reading all that I have, it’s hard to believe that nuclear power would be any good. Just imagine if you were that nuclear family? Or just lived in that neighborhood near Rocky Flats? I just picture my pets becoming ill because of this exposure and not knowing until there was nothing left to do. It’s hard, so if you’re confused I don’t blame you. Senator Inhofe, makes a persuasive argument and I’m sure others who agree will give you more of the same. Still I think getting rid of nuclear energy, or rather nuking nuclear, is a safer bet. I don’t want to live in the future Into Eternity and Blind painted, and I don’t want to have to experience what Kristen Iversen endured.