SIFF 2012: The Atomic States of America ***

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 26, 2012)

Remember the “No Nukes” movement that gained momentum in the mid to late 70s and then fizzed after Chernobyl proved that those DFHs may have been on to something after all? Good times. Lots of (irradiated) water passed under the bridge. Everyone got distracted by their iPhones. Fast-forward to the announcement in 2010 that the U.S. was going forward with construction of the first nuclear power plant in three decades; corporate America swooned over the “Nuclear Renaissance” (short memories). Then, as if on cue, Fukushima happened in 2011. The Atomic States of America is a timely eco-doc that could serve as a perfect wake-up call for anyone who may have failed to connect those dots (i.e., the jury is still out on the “safety” of this energy source).

Co-directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce build their case with a certain  sense of urgency, reviewing the industry’s past sins and spotlighting present day travails suffered by communities adjacent to nuclear plants (like “cancer clusters”). Most importantly, the filmmakers boldly tackle the $64,000 question: How in the fuck did we get to this Bizzarro World scenario wherein the Atomic Energy Commission finds itself kowtowing to the nuclear power industry…instead of vice versa? Essential viewing.

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