Scientist says biggest threat to nuclear power is ... James Bond?

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Dec 16, 2012

James Bond is the hero of the British Secret Service and an enemy to anyone who threatens the security of his country. Now scientists are saying that Bond movies are villainous for one important reason: They're harmful to the image of nuclear power.

In Dr. No, the first James Bond movie, which celebrates its 50-year anniversary this year (wrap your head around that), the evil doctor lives on a nuclear-powered island and threatens the Project Mercury space launch with his atomic-powered radio beam.

According to The Guardian:

[David Phillips, president of the Royal Society of Chemistry] feared the portrait of the evil megalomaniac and his nuclear reactor hidden away on a Caribbean island contributed to the "entirely negative" and "remorselessly grim" perception of the industry as a force for evil.

Other Bond movies have used nuclear power as a threat, such as The World Is Not Enough. And then there are the works of James Cameron, who has used nuclear war and nuclear weapons as a threat in most of his movies.

Richard George of Greenpeace told The Guardian, "A handful of Bond films haven't tarnished the nuclear industry's reputation. They have managed to do that all by themselves. I don't think they have got a top secret fake volcanic island though. But if they did, it would probably be cheaper to build than a nuclear power station."

However, Phillips wants this perception to change. "Let's say yes to nuclear and no to Dr No's nonsense," he added.

Is nuclear power safe? It all depends on your definition. On one hand, nuclear power plants produce no greenhouses gases and therefore may mitigate global warming. On the other hand, as "nuclear fuel produces radioactive waste," the uranium used increases the risk of cancer for people who work in nuclear power plants, or merely near them.

We know that nuclear power has been safely used all over the world for decades. But we also know that Dr. No, and other bad guys like him, are all the more threatening when they're backed by the power of fusion.