I have never been a big fan of horror films, but I have friends and relatives who love the experience of watching movies that are cleverly designed to cause hearts to race through the use of cuts, lighting, intense music and surprise. I will never forget a movie night long ago with several friends – I watched the most “manly” member of our little group hide behind the couch during the really scary parts.
It is with that amused memory that I have decided to share a trailer with you for a movie titled Chernobyl Diaries. This movie makes no attempt to document anything; it is a commercial horror film designed for pure entertainment.
Heck, I might actually be convinced to watch it for amusement. Its producers come with high recommendations from horror film buffs.
When Chernobyl, which has been used by antinuclear activists for 25 years to scare people about nuclear energy, becomes fodder for the horror genre, it is obvious that the truth about its relatively minor consequences is starting to be understood.
Think about it; would anyone ever buy a big old house with a few creaky floorboards if they really believed in ghosts? Would they live in big cities if Godzilla was on the loose? Would they preferentially overcrowd LA if Earthquake was seen as a realistic movie? Would they work in a skyscraper if the Towering Inferno was seen as portraying events with a reasonable probability of occurence?
Of course Chernobyl was not something anyone wants to repeat. It was a bad industrial accident that resulted in the destruction of a useful electric power production factory. Some of the people working at the plant and some of the first responders were injured or killed, but there was little physical harm done to the general public.
The truly terrible impacts of the event were caused by official overreaction. The forced relocation of large numbers of people from their homes and businesses and the imposed sense of victimization has caused real tragedy and long term negative health consequences.
Negative marketing from energy industry competitors and political pressure using the accident as the excuse has resulted in the forced destruction of a number of other useful energy sources, including the two Ignalina reactors that used to allow Lithuania to be a power exporter instead of a power supplicant at the mercy of its neighbors.
The good news is that we can learn from the real consequences that have been documented to have occurred as a result of Chernobyl, which was one of the very worst possible things that could realistically happen at a nuclear power plant. We must recognize the that most of the health impacts were optional, and imposed by incorrect government edicts. We must encourage our friends in Japan to apply Chernobyl lessons to the events at Fukushima and stop making matters worse by spreading irrational fear. The effort is not only costly, but may be hazardous to the health of the affected people.
We should start employing the well known field of crisis response and damage control. We can make a great first step by requiring that anyone who aspires to hold the position of Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and exercise its extensive emergency powers, be required to pass an essay test on the contents of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Manual of Protective Action Guides and Protective Actions for Nuclear Incidents.
No grandfathering should be allowed; the rule should be retroactively applied to the current Chairman.