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Pandora's Promise

 (51)
7.31 h 26 min2013ALL
Atomic bombs and meltdowns like Fukushima have made nuclear power synonymous with global disaster. But what if we've got nuclear power wrong? PANDORA'S PROMISE asks whether the one technology we fear most could save our planet from a climate catastrophe and provide the energy needed to lift billions out of poverty. From the Award-nominated director Robert Stone.
Directors
Robert Stone
Starring
Stewart BrandGwyneth CravensMark Lynas
Genres
DocumentarySpecial Interest
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio Languages
English
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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More details

Supporting actors
Michael Schellenberger
Producers
Robert StoneJames R. SwartzSusan Swartz
Studio
The Film Sales Company
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Other formats

Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

51 global ratings

  1. 60% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 0% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 17% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Steve WReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 August 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Ecomodernist Manifesto Sales Pitch
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The makers and protagonists in this documentary can be easily sourced to the Economist Manifesto and Energy for Humans, a so called environmental movement that is pro-nuclear that uses the term "decoupling", humans get on with their consumer orientated progression separate from nature, more or less. The film swerves the major issues of nuclear power/bombs, and to accomplish this it uses similar language to that of the groups it strongly opposes addressed in the film, sales pitch rhetoric, a very familiar trend these days so as to avoid any debate.
Robert Stone is a co-founder of Energy for Humans. their website is full of pro-nuclear propaganda. The nuclear industry is desperate to be the green energy leader selling itself as the answer to climate change. The film presents some of the issues against nuclear power but these issues are minimised as to be nothing but a set of untruths. Pandora's Box reminded me of the same Cold War pro-nuclear arguments from the 1950's! It is disturbing how this film deals with accidents and radioactive waste indifferent to the consequences. The film, like the nuclear industry, treats the subject of nuclear waste as a price worth paying and let's face it none of these people will be around to answer for their actions! A far better intelligent film is Into Eternity directed by Michael Madsen (2010).
Pandora's Box will persuade many people that nuclear power is clean and safe because it only tells convincing fictional truths. There is no scientific, philosophical or ethical arguments of any merit, indeed, this film is a product haunted by 20th century promised futures that never arrived. The irony being that none of the people involved are aware of their own journey backwards and the slow cancellation of the future.
3 people found this helpful
PumpActionPondsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 January 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Accurate, coherent if just a little bit incomplete.
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This is a really good documentary if you're looking for some straight forward evidence that nuclear is reliable and safe. IF you're looking to have your mind changed this will also be something worth watching because it directly addresses the main concerns of the anti-nuclear position.

Where it goes astray is really only minor, because to be sure, this isn't a documentary on all forms of renewable energy. This is a documentary specifically about the misconceptions behind nuclear. Whilst some of the information regarding renewable is a bit outdated and to be expected, this isn't a dishonest intention of the film. It's just because of it's focus.

You can watch this and understand where the misconceptions of nuclear lie and then go out and watch various other media regarding other renewables to get a fuller picture. I would have liked this to be a bit longer, and maybe address the variety of different types of plants around the world along with a bit more in depth information, but it's by no means expected that any documentary maker will have the budget or time for that given the goal.

If you are not the conspiratotially minded, you'll find this rational enough to at the very least reconsider a lot of your prejudices a 2nd time. At best you'll more than likely go out and look up some of the claims and find them to be accurate.

It's a shame the Rise of Skywalker sucked, else this world would have one less argument for blowing it all up with nuclear :/
2 people found this helpful
Bjorn T. MadsenReviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 December 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Addresses held beliefs, but doesn't point forward
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Edited, scored & lit to perfection, Pandora's Promise gives a stirring reason to rethink nuclear power. As such, it is a good opener in the debate on how we are going to support the 2+ billion that are coming out of poverty in China, India, Brazil et. al. But exactly because it is a journey going from "here's all the ills people lay at nuclear power's door" to "here's why these things aren't true", it doesn't point the way forward and become specific on actual solutions.

What we get, instead, is a dramatic account of Chernobul, Fukushima & Three Mile Island, including haunting revisits of the exclusion zones, a good introduction to the concept of background radiation and how it compares to the numbers out of those catastrophes as well a brief discussion on waste management, nuclear proliferation and, if only for a few minutes, alternative reactor designs (i.e. not light water reactors). It becomes a film frozen in its dismantling of the anti-nuclear argument, and perhaps this is where a film like this needs to start, but it doesn't prescribe much medicine and give the people it manages to convince a way forward. I missed better discussions on how alternative reactor designs radically lessen the waste management burden, fuel sourcing as well as impact proliferation risk. It doesn't attempt those things very well, unfortunately.

What it achieves, however, is to cause people with long-held opposition to nuclear to, perhaps fleetingly, reassess their views on what part nuclear must play in our future energy mix. It rationalizes why you can't discuss nuclear future based on nuclear past, in the same way that you can't base a discussion on road safety on crash statistics from the 1960s; technology is moving, and has moved, on and the reactors being built now are infinitely safer than those built 30 years ago.

If you are interested in a more thorough "nuclear necessity" argument, I would recommend the book titled Sustainable Energy: Without Hot Air (freely available on the web or available to buy on paper here on Amazon) or perhaps, when released, the film The Good Reactor (currently in production, so difficult to vouch for, but seemingly a more forward look).
6 people found this helpful
Stuart HaszeldineReviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 November 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Debates and emotes but doesn't solve - who can ?
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Very well made advocacy for a re-think on nuclear power generation. Spans from military war to present and future electricity generation. Archive footage through to the present day. Lots on personal conversions and convictions. Rather short on details. Touring the planet with a hand held radiation meter is visual, but still not in locations we would want to linger. And no major mistakes, which is great - though we did think that the pieces on radioactive wastes were wrong for the UK, maybe correct for some of the USA. And there isn't anything about costs, money, timescales or covering off proliferation. A subtext being that maybe we as a planet don't spend enough effort on trying to work out smarter ways to make clean power from inventing new Fast Breeder reactors. Its not clear if that is the objective, or more generally stating that existing nuclear power is a least-bad option - which is harder. If the intended message is to make you think, and create debate - then that is what it does in a constructive way. The other side of nuclear from "Into eternity". More a journey than a documentary. Well worth 90 minutes of your time.
6 people found this helpful
ASFReviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 December 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Surprising arguments, well made documentary
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If you take the emotion out of the argument, NF powered cities makes sense. that is until fusion power takes over but nothing was discussed here about that.
Amazon KundeReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 November 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Essential education about one of the major ecological issues of our time
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Pandora's Promise takes an in-depth look at the arguments that were brought forward against the use of nuclear power, and explains one-by-one, why the concerns with nuclear power had been overblown for a long time. Nuclear energy is (among the) safest and cleanest energy technologies humankind has at its disposal. To reduce carbon emissions and lower the impact of climate change, we collectively need the low-carbon nuclear energy to displace coal, oil, and gas.
MartyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 November 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent and informative programme.
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Excellent and informative programme. Watch, learn and then go check out the FACTS for yourself.
A P TaylorReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 December 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
The most important message I have ever had.
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This film should be shown in every school, university and on prime time TV. I have never learned so much from a documentary in my life.
The message is of huge importance to humanity and every other living thing on our planet. Buy it and share the knowledge.
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