In the midst of one of the nation’s most controversial debates, we connected with the directors and producers of “Atomic States of America”, a new documentary about the vast effect of nuclear power plants and reactor communities across the U.S. Watch filmmakers Sheena Joyce & Don Argott discuss the documentary’s powerful message:
“We didn’t set out to make out a propaganda piece, we’re not activists and we didn’t want activists in our film. We have advocates on both sides of the issue,” Sheena Joyce told genConnect. “We don’t want a call-to-action at the end, we want to spark an intelligent dialogue about whether or not man can responsibly harness the atom and let people make up their own minds.”
The Obama administration recently issued licenses for new nuclear reactors to Southern Company in Georgia — the first time permits have been approved to build new nuclear reactors in this country in decades. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), however, said the reactors need to be built with certain safety enhancements in the way of the meltdown last year at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The NRC is expected to vote soon on construction permits for two more reactors in South Carolina, while construction is being completed on a reactor in Tennessee. This month, the Department of Energy requested more than $770 million for nuclear energy in 2013, as the Obama administration tries to kickstart America’s nuclear industry as part of a broader energy strategy.
The film couldn’t have been possible, however, without Danny Sherman, an Executive Producer and Manager, who put together the superstar production team. He tells genConnect about the process:
The film is based on Kelly McMasters’ book, Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir From an Atomic Town, which chronicles her experiences growing up in a town with a nuclear reactor. The film “Atomic States of America” starts in Shirley, Long Island and then pulls back, taking a look at the larger picture of nuclear power in the United States by traveling to nuclear reactor towns all over the county.
How will this film help the greater U.S.? “I think it’s an important subject matter … people don’t realize what’s next door – how it affects you,” Executive Producer Danny Sherman said. “That’s what this movie’s all about.”