Bond villains blamed for nuclear power's bad image, Greenpeace laughs
A debate has spring up about who is responsible for the 'bad image' that nuclear power has with the general public in the 21st century.
Prof David Phillips, president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, told the BBC
that James Bond villains like Dr No, with his personal nuclear reactor, helped to create a "remorselessly grim" reputation for atomic energy.
The RSC wants to promote a resurgence in nuclear power, but worry that 007's nemesis from 1962 still leaves an enduring negative image of nuclear power as something that could be wielded by megalomaniacs with aspirations to world domination presented to the audience as a "barely-controllable force for evil".
The Prof wrapped up by saying, "it is not at all surprising that the public at home and abroad are sceptical. But the RSC asserts that nuclear power has to be part of the future national energy mix, in which it plays a major role, complemented by renewable sources. Fossil fuels have to be eradicated for people to live in a healthy environment. Let's say yes to nuclear and no to Dr No's nonsense."
"Dr. No" is not the only Bond movie to deal with the nuclear threat in the hands of a villain. Two years later, Auric Goldfinger attempted to detonate a dirty bomb inside Fort Knox to irradiate America''s gold reserve. The 1999 film "The World Is Not Enough" saw villain Renard attempt to use stolen nuclear material to cause a reactor meltdown in a submarine.
The Green Party has dived in to the debate claiming that the Bond villain plot actually reflected concerns rather than creating them. "Although James Bond is fiction, the truth is that nuclear power is dangerous, dirty and unsafe," said spokesperson, Penny Kemp. "It is improbable to think that people's perceptions have been influenced solely by The World is Not Enough, but this film came after the Chernobyl disaster so the film was merely picking up on a real fear people have of nuclear power. And rightly so."
Richard George of Greenpeace had a bit more of a sense of humour about it, saying: "A handful of Bond films haven't tarnished the nuclear industry's reputation. They've managed to do that all by themselves. I don't think they've got a top secret fake volcanic island though. But if they did, it would probably be cheaper to build than a nuclear power station."
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