News here of a ruling stopping uranium mining exploration in the Northwest Territories. This is a particularly telling story. An investment advisor friend of mine tells me that entrepreneurs are drumming up investment interest in extremely speculative exploration projects at the moment. With the new Nymex market in uranium futures showing rocketing prices, is it any wonder that we’re watching the start of a uranium ore rush?
May 24, 2007
April 13, 2007
The Ceeb had a good interview with people on both sides of the downwinders argument in late March. I’ve been so busy doing PR for the screening of the movie next week that I haven’t had time to blog it. Anna Maria Tremonti, who hosts the excellent Current morning show, interviewed downwinder activist Mary Dickson and former nuclear testing head Troy Wade, who now heads up the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation, which has close links with the Atomic Testing Museum. I interviewed both Mary and Troy for the movie, although neither made the final cut. I had to cut so many of the 100-odd interviews from the movie. Talk about painful decisions…
Anyway, the Current show containing the interviews is here (you’ll need Realplayer). It’s part three you want, and they also cover off Yucca Mountain, and the now-cancelled Divine Strake test. Anna Maria also interviews Carole Gallagher. Carole is quite the researcher – she stayed in the Utah community for seven years straight, while she produced her excellent photo essay book, American Ground Zero. This book provided me with some of my original contacts for the movie, including Mary.
April 10, 2007
There’s an interesting release here from MIT about how uranium shortages may stymie the redevelopment of the nuclear energy industry. It tempers the idea of using nuclear energy as a quick replacement for fossil fuels, now that we’re at peak oil.
They’re also talking about efficient, environmentally friendly ways to burn coal, including sequestration of toxic gases (link here).
April 2, 2007
Planet S is our local free sheet, and they just previewed Epicentre in the latest edition. Daniel, the journalist who interviewed me, is a grad student at the U of S, specialising in political science. It turns out that he follows nuclear weapons policy quite closely himself and we had a good chat about it.
March 29, 2007
It’s finally done! I’ve been working for three years on my movie, Epicentre, and the DVDs came back from the duplicators the other day. The movie is going to be playing at the Broadway Theatre, Saskatoon on April 17th at 9pm. I’m also taking part in a discussion panel for the Documentary Reframed project, curated by Maureen Latta, at the Paved artist-run centre in S’toon, on Wednesday April 4.
I’ve always been fascinated by the atomic bomb. I remember hiding my face in my hands as a kid when images of the mushroom cloud appeared on TV. I was always haunted by a mixture of fascination and fear whenever I saw that image. After hearing a story about the downwinders (those in the US who were dusted with radioactive fallout during the atmospheric tests in the 50s and 60s) I decided to research them, travelling down to the US to speak with them on camera. I had the notion to make a film purely about the downwinders, but as I spoke to more people, I started picking up other aspects of the story, and finding people who had been affected by atomic culture in other ways.
So, Epicentre ended up being a film about our nuclear past and present. It looks underneath the mushroom cloud at the subtle but pervasive effects of the Bomb, and how it has changed the way that we think about everything from democracy to the environment. It gathers interviews with observers of the nuclear weapons industry, including weapons scientists, peace activists, psychologists, anthropologists, and cold war historians. Using these interviews, it pieces together a cultural history of the nuclear weapons program, looking at its effect on modern-day society.
The relevance of nuclear issues today couldn’t be greater. Tensions over nuclear energy policy in Canada are running high. Tensions are equally great over nuclear weapons policy in the US, where the Complex is readying itself to rebuild the nuclear arsenal and has already chosen the first warhead to be redesigned. Earlier in the year, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists turned its doomsday clock two minutes closer to midnight, putting us us the closest we’ve come to armageddon since 1984. Among its concerns were climate change…and nuclear proliferation. How did we get here? And where do we go now?