Climate change documentary to screen at Greg Hall

By Samantha Boyle, Assistant Daytime News Editor

The Department of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering will be screening the Emmy award-winning director David Schumacher’s film, “The New Fire,” a documentary discussing solutions to climate change, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Gregory Hall.

The documentary discusses how advanced nuclear power could be the solution to climate change.

Schumacher traveled around the world following engineers who are rebooting nuclear technology. The documentary follows their work and other scientists who are developing alternative ways to create clean energy usage and storage.

“If you believe climate change is a real issue, then you need to come see this movie and be a part of the discussion,” Aries Loumis, volunteer at Generation Atomic and one of the organizers for the screening, said in an email.

Jeremy Mettler, president of the student chapter of the American Nuclear Society at the University, said the documentary will get people excited over using nuclear power as an energy source.

“One of the great parts of this film is that you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand its message,” Mettler said in an email. “It makes knowledge about nuclear energy accessible to anyone.”

After the screening, a discussion and Q&A session will be held with Schumacher, who will attend the session in person.

Schumacher said he was worried the United States and other countries were not on track to meet climate goals with the solutions being offered.

“The message I was getting was ‘go back to sleep, everything’s ok, we’re on the right track we just gotta keep moving this ball forward,’” he said. “When I really looked at the problem and saw that, well, that might not be true, and that may not be the most prudent way to approach things.”

People may have a negative image of nuclear energy because of accidents that can occur, and the positive side of nuclear energy often bores people, Schumacher said. Loumis said he also believes nuclear energy receives a bad reputation.

However, Schumacher was surprised at the number of young entrepreneurs who are starting nuclear companies. He compared nuclear energy to iPhones, GPS and the Internet, which are all game-changers in the society.

“Any number of disruptive technologies have changed the game in humanities’ last several years,” he said.

The causes and effects of climate change are often hard to pinpoint. Schumacher said if someone were to pollute today, those effects could last for years thereafter.

“This is a positive story about solutions to this huge threat and it’s something people could hopefully get behind,” he said.

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