Cinema Review: Atomic Hope – Inside The Pro-Nuclear Movement

Posted February 13, 2023 in Cinema Reviews

Atomic Hope bills itself as a story from ‘Inside the Pro Nuclear Movement.’ Director Frankie Fenton follows a number of key pro-Nuclear advocates across the globe as they make their case for nuclear as a means of decarbonising energy systems and combating climate change. The tagline may lead one to believe there is a Louis Therouxesque examination of this movement – exploring the merits, cutting through the propaganda, teasing out the nuances and conflicts.

On the surface Atomic Hope introduces us to a largely pleasant group of seemingly well-meaning people. However, Fenton has chosen the sympathetic insider route. There is no evidence of questioning. At one stage the debunked myth about a banana giving you more radiation than living beside a nuclear power plant is trotted out from the back seat of a car. It is left hang there, unchallenged. Yes, Chernobyl and Fukushima are referenced and visited but the scale of disaster is arguably downplayed and misrepresented.

The credits list Jim Swartz as an executive producer. He runs Nucleation Capital, a venture capital fund “investing in advanced nuclear and deep decarbonization”. Another exec producer is venture capitalist Ray Rothrock who serves on several pro nuclear committees. Therefore, what is Atomic Hope? A showreel for the nuclear industry?

With everything from our current energy crisis to Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, there is a hot take to be had on nuclear power at the moment. Unfortunately, being ‘Inside the Pro Nuclear Movement’ isn’t much use for a viewer when bias is so blatant. 

Words: Michael McDermott

Atomic Hope

Director: Frankie Fenton

Release Date: February 17


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