Cinema Review: Indian Point | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 27th, 2021  

Indian Point

Studio: First Run Features
Directed by Ivy Meeropol

Jul 20, 2016 Web Exclusive
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As a species, our capacity for brilliant invention seems to run alongside a constant flirtation with disaster. Nowhere is this more apparent than nuclear power, a bountiful supply of zero-carbon energy that also contains the potential to destroy everything. Indian Point grapples with the problem in an admirably even-handed way, and while the broader picture doesn’t link up with local concerns, it provides a fascinating behind the scenes look at a world too often ignored.

Much of it feels like a school field trip, journeying through rarely seen discharge canals and fuel pod disposal pools into the heart of Indian Point nuclear power plant, sitting north of New York City on the Hudson River. Given 6% of the population of the United States lies within a 50 mile radius, it’s no wonder a few people have concerns over the aging plant. Most of the time the wider public shows little interest, unless a Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, or as the world recently experienced, a Fukushima occurs. This sparked President Obama to ask for an urgent review of all plants in the country by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Acclaimed documentarian Ivy Meeropol’s film focusses on the nexus between the NRC, the nuclear industry, and anti-nuclear campaigners. The latter contend the NRC sits too comfortably in the pocket of industry to take any real action against dangerous plants. The arguments are teased out carefully in direct reference to Indian Point, less so when the scale zooms out to the bigger picture. Here the film isn’t so sure how to address the value of nuclear power, and the new problems faced by reactors fast approaching use by dates.

On the local level though, a campaign fought for years appears to be gaining the upper hand. Indian Point builds out these efforts effectively through a number of contributors, while still counterpointing their views with those working within the plant. The dangers of Indian Point take precedence, but this is no hack job out to defame. It poses the question what kind of world do we want? Is it one free from the threat of devastating radiation leakage, free from river pollution and slipshod safety standards, or is it a modern world supplied with the power needed to function? While Meeropol makes clear there are major problems with the way the industry behaves, Indian Point is aware the answer to the broader question isn’t clear-cut.

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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