A nuclear Bacchanalia

Insufferable pro-nuclear hyperbole saturates the media, but it’s fake delivered as fact

By Linda Pentz Gunter

The pro-nuclear reprobates are enjoying their Bacchanalia. They are reveling in the tidal wave of propaganda they have unleashed across multiple media platforms. They are basking in their new-found role as the cool dudes on the block, the defiers of what they see as traditional old thinking that relegates nuclear power to the past.

While our blood pressure rises, faced with a lavishly funded saturation campaign that plants pro-nuclear falsehoods absolutely everywhere, the hedonists of nuclear are soaring on a fanfaronade of hot air (emanating from which orifice we shall not say).

They are trained dissimulators, skilled at delivering fake as fact. And they believe they are winning. But theirs is a vainglorious and entirely temporary victory, a conquest of cozenage.

There is a puncture in their balloon of bombast. And, like many a Dickens villain, they are due for their comeuppance. 

The pro-nukes are delirious that Oliver Stone is now in their camp. But he may not be helping them — see photo credit. (Photo by Press Service of the President of Russia/Wikimedia Commons)

In the meantime, they’ve managed to beguile film director, Oliver Stone, their new favorite attack dog. Like his namesake director before him, Robert Stone, who made a pro-nuclear cinematic vanishing act called Pandora’s Promise, Oliver Stone brings us Nuclear Now, a “documentary” about a failed technology of yesteryear dressed up as a fresh idea. It is duly presented not as one of the solutions to the climate crisis — a line even the nuclear industry rarely steps across with their “do everything” credo — but the only solution! 

What is it with these Stone dudes? (Excuse me while I break into a chorus of “everybody must get stoned” because you’d have to be to believe this stuff.)

Last week, along came an email promoting screenings of Nuclear Now with this verbose subject line: “The greatest story of our time — humanity’s mastery of science to overcome the modern demand for more and more energy.” Oliver Stone, Director.

This insufferable hyperbole comes from a man who read one book, asked no further questions, and made a film about it. That’s not “the greatest story of our time.” It’s the biggest mistake of his career (with the possible exception of JFK.)

I could be mean-spirited and argue here that Stone’s best days are behind him, given his finest work was arguably his screenplay for Midnight Express (1978) and his finest film was his first — Salvador (1986) — and his second finest Platoon (also 1986) and so on, along a certain trajectory, until today and Nuclear Now.

Perhaps that was on the mind of an inspired subeditor at the UK daily newspaper, The Guardian, who, atop an article almost entirely about Stone and Nuclear Now, headlined it thus: Oliver Stone: ‘Putin is a great leader for his country’.

Of course the reality about nuclear power will out in the end, with or without Stone’s blessing. And that reality is that the immense costs and long timelines needed to develop more nuclear power plants will eventually kill off these fission fantasies. But by then it will be too late.

We are in climate chaos and wasting time on nuclear power will only make it worse. (Photo: davy gibbons/Wikimedia Commons)

That is why we have to fight this nuclear nonsense tooth and nail. Because new nuclear is a chimera never to be realized unless we pay for it. And paying for it means wasting time and money that we can’t afford while failing to deploy the solutions at hand. That delinquency will plunge us into the hell of climate chaos and yes, as we go down, we will be pointing fingers (small comfort though that will be).

History will remember those who stubbornly continued to promote nuclear power as a cabal who jammed a rusty radioactive spoke into the renewable energy wheel and called it a tune-up. To deliberately impede and delay progress at a time of climate crisis such as this is a crime against humanity. Painting nuclear power as the solution isn’t cool or hip or new or in any way alternative. It is toxic lipstick on a dead pig. 

If you type the word ‘nuclear’ into Thesaurus you get a long list of appropriate synonyms. These include ‘demented’, ‘whacky’, ‘maniacal’, ‘crackpot’, ‘unhinged’, ‘cuckoo’, ‘looney’ and ‘psychotic’. Let’s just leave it there.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International. 

Headline image: Painting by Nicolas Poussin, Bacchanal before a Statue of Pan/Wikimedia Commons.

One Comment on “A nuclear Bacchanalia

  1. Pingback: New Nuclear – TASC – Together Against Sizewell C

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