Pandora's Promise

Watch Pandora's Promise

"At the bottom of the box she found hope."
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 1 hr 20 min
  • 7.3  (1,942)
  • 54

Pandora's Promise is a 2013 documentary film that explores the possibility of nuclear power as a solution to climate change. Directed by Robert Stone, the film features commentary from several prominent environmentalists who were once staunch opponents of nuclear power but have since changed their minds, including Stewart Brand, Richard Rhodes, Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas, and Michael Shellenberger.

The film kicks off with a brief history of nuclear power, touching on the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters that have led many people to view nuclear energy with fear and suspicion. From there, it delves into the current state of global energy usage and explores the environmental impact of traditional energy sources like coal and oil. According to the film, coal is responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions, making it the biggest contributor to climate change.

The film then makes the case for nuclear power as a clean, safe, and abundant source of energy that can help mitigate the effects of climate change. The main argument in favor of nuclear is that it produces zero emissions, unlike fossil fuels, and is therefore a cleaner alternative for producing energy. Moreover, the film points out that nuclear power is much more efficient than other renewables, like solar or wind, which still face significant inefficiencies and expensive storage options.

To further strengthen their argument, the film profiles several individuals who were once opposed to nuclear energy but have since changed their minds. Stewart Brand, for example, is a prominent environmentalist who co-founded the Whole Earth Catalog and serves on the board of the Long Now Foundation. Despite his reputation as a sustainability advocate, Brand now believes that nuclear power is the only solution to climate change. He argues that the benefits of reducing carbon emissions outweigh the risks posed by nuclear waste storage and the potential for accidents.

Similarly, Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian of nuclear weapons, has also changed his stance on nuclear power. Rhodes argues that the public's perception of nuclear energy is shaped by fear-mongering media coverage that exaggerates the potential risks of nuclear accidents. He points out that, statistically, nuclear energy is far safer than other hazardous energy sources like coal or oil.

The film also addresses the issue of nuclear waste disposal, which is often raised as a potential downside to nuclear power. However, the film argues that modern nuclear plants produce far less waste than their predecessors, and that technologies like Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) can recycle spent fuel, making it substantially less hazardous. Moreover, the film points to countries like France and Sweden, which have been safely storing nuclear waste for decades using advanced techniques.

While the film makes a compelling case for nuclear power, it's not without its detractors. The film briefly touches on the anti-nuclear movement, which has long opposed the use of nuclear power due to concerns about the potential for accidents and the disposal of nuclear waste. The film acknowledges these concerns but ultimately argues that, given the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, nuclear power is the best available option.

Overall, Pandora's Promise is an engaging and thought-provoking documentary that challenges viewers to re-evaluate their preconceptions about nuclear power. By highlighting the perspectives of environmentalists and experts who were once opposed to nuclear energy, the film brings a fresh perspective to the ongoing debate about the best way to address climate change. Whether or not you agree with the film's conclusions, it's a valuable contribution to a vital conversation.

Pandora's Promise is a 2013 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 54.

Pandora's Promise
Where to Watch Pandora's Promise
Pandora's Promise is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon and Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent Pandora's Promise for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 20 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (1,942)
  • Metascore