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It's show time for nuclear!

Posting in Education

Thorium in their eyes. Irish film makers Frankie Fenton (l) and Des Kelleher hope that a Kickstarter funding campaign helps them wrap their feature length documentary on safe and clean nuclear power.

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A growing number of environmentalists who once opposed nuclear power are now backing it as a source of energy that can significantly reduce the world's reliance on CO2-emitting fossil fuels. That's the point of the convincing feature-length documentary film Pandora's Promise, released this week and now playing at cinemas in the U.S.

As I wrote in December, Pandora debuted at Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival. I was fortunate to see a screening recently in Chicago. I'll deliver my thumbs-up review in a subsequent blog.

But today, I wanted to alert you to another upcoming cinematic homage to nuclear.

Get ready for the release later this year of "The Good Reactor" (at least that's its title for now), from a couple of young Irish film makers, Frankie Fenton and Des Kelleher.

The film focuses on reactors powered by liquid thorium fuel. So-called "thorium molten salt reactors," also known as "liquid fluoride thorium reactors" auger great improvements over conventional solid-fuel uranium reactors in safety and efficiency.

As someone once said, molten salt reactors can't melt down, because, as liquid reactors, they are essentially "pre-melted." If things go wrong, the fuel drains harmlessly into a holding tank. They leave less waste than do today's reactors, and any potential bomb maker will find it much more difficult to fashion an explosion from them. Oh - you can also mix spent fuel into the thorium, solving the question of what to do with existing plutonium waste.

And get this: molten salt reactors run at much higher temperatures than today's reactors, so heavy industry can use them as a clean source of industrial heat, replacing the fossil fuel furnaces they use today.

The Good Reactor will cover all this and more in a non-technical way intended to educate a general audience. It even presents level headed debate both for and against nuclear, although its pro-thorium nuclear message will be clear.

"It's about new technology, and people's attitudes - we want to give a proper voice to the nuclear discussion," said Fenton, who I spoke with via Skype this morning, and who believes that nuclear along with renewables will help mitigate the global warming consequences of CO2-spewing fossil fuels. In a promotional video, Kelleher says the film is about the "power of human creativity to solve enormous problems like climate change or an energy crisis."

Fenton and Kelleher are hoping to wrap their final cut by the end of the summer, and then hit the film festivals and seek distribution through broadcasters, cinemas or the Internet.

Like with many an aspiring film maker, the pair could use a little more moola to apply the finishing touches. They're trying to raise a modest £40,000 ($63,000) in a Kickstarter campaign that ends soon, at 6 p.m. New York time Friday, June 21. (see note below).

Click on the image below for a five-minute promotional video, or view a one-minute clip here:

Video from Frankie Fenton and Des Kelleher via YouTube. Top photo is a screen grab from the video.

NOTE: The Kickstarter funding deadline is 6 p.m. New York Time (EDT) June 21, not 6 a.m. as stated in an earlier version of this story. Fenton and Kelleher are seeking £40,000, not $40,000 as first reported.

A few of SmartPlanet's previous stops along Thorium Trail, followed by a link to a larger archive:

— By on June 13, 2013, 11:43 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure