Positive portrayals of nuclear power?
Using escaping radiation or the impending melt-down of a nuclear power plant as the basis for a science fiction disaster film or superhero narrative has been a lucrative and successful Hollywood tradition for almost fifty years.1 These stories have drawn record crowds into the theaters and, despite being fictional and mythical, they have effectively established fears that often conflate nuclear energy with nuclear bombs or which vastly exaggerate the ill-effects of radiation, and have helped to lend credibility to an anti-nuclear movement set on eliminating nuclear power.
Which is why the April 29th episode of CBS’ popular TV series, Madam Secretary, made scientists happy all around the world: it was the first accurate and positive portrayal of nuclear energy in a television or film production. Michael Mann, the climate scientist whose research brought us the “hockey stick” graph, wrote:
“It placed nuclear power in a positive light and even accurately portrayed the established “environmental groups” as understanding nuclear power as essential to fighting global warming, but afraid to change their stance for fear of loss of revenue . . . it was epic!”
Here is but a snippet of that episode, courtesy of the Media Research Center/TV.