Atomic Bamboozle
Atomic Bamboozle
Atomic Bamboozle
Atomic Bamboozle
Atomic Bamboozle
Atomic Bamboozle
Atomic Bamboozle

Atomic Bamboozle

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    • Directed by: Jan Haaken
    • Released: 2024 (educational)
    • Year of Production: 2023
Running Time: 46 min
Language: English
Subtitle Options: English Closed Captions
Subjects: Environmental Studies

ATOMIC BAMBOOZLE, a 46 minute documentary that follows anti-nuclear activists, tribal leaders, scientists and attorneys as they draw lessons from the decades-long campaign to shut down the Trojan Nuclear Power plant in Oregon and extend those lessons into a new struggle to stop small modular reactors (SMRs) from being built in the Pacific Northwest. The documentary follows activists as they expose the true costs of these small nuclear reactor designs that have been opposed by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) as well as by several other environmental groups.

As pressure mounts in the US to meet net zero carbon goals, the nuclear power industry makes its case for a nuclear “ renaissance” to solve the climate crisis, in place of the highly costly reactors shut down across many regions of the country, investors began in the early 21st century to promote small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) as a technological solution. ATOMIC BAMBOOZLE follows anti-nuclear activist Lloyd Marbet and attorneys Greg Kafoury and Lauren Goldberg as they draw lessons from the decades-long fight to shut down the Trojan Nuclear Power plant in Oregon and expose current campaigns to revive the industry. Climate activist Cathy Sampson-Kruse (Wallulapum member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation) points to the buried legacy of atomic weapons production and nuclear power generation at Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State and its devastating impacts on tribal communities. University of British Columbia professor M. V. Ramana, a physicist and internationally recognized scholar on nuclear power, traces the history of nuclear power generation from the 1950s to the present and takes up four main problems– costs, accidents, waste, and proliferation–and shows how the industry continues to deny or disavow these persisting problems in the much heralded generation of ”new nuclear.” Director Jan Haaken, a psychologist, brings to this history of atomic bamboozling an attentiveness to the psychological ploys of the industry.

With the current rush to fund SMRs at the federal level and pressure from NuScale and other companies in Oregon to overturn state laws restricting nuclear power plants, activists and tribes consulting on the NECESSITY film asked the team to take up the issue and produce this documentary.

Special Jury Award at 2024 International Uranium Film Festival, 2024 Colorado Environmental Film Festival, 2024 Social Justice Film Festival

“A powerful and provocative film.”–Willamette Week

“An uncompromising piece of activism that’s well-crafted and urgent.” –Oregon Arts Watch

"Although its immediate intention is to prevent nuclear power plant construction in Oregon and Washington, its message is universal." –CounterPunch

"Tells the story that the nuclear power lobbyists want to nullify so as to bring back costly, dangerous, unneeded nuclear power to Oregon. Those beyond Oregon should also watch this powerful film to learn the truth behind this industry and its false claims." –Ralph Nader, Center for Study of Responsive Law

About the filmmaker 


Jan is professor emeritus of psychology at Portland State University, a clinical psychologist, and documentary filmmaker. From refugee camps, war zones and abortion clinics to drag bars, dairy farms and hip-hop clubs, her documentary films focus on people carrying out stressful jobs on the social margins and in liminal spaces. Her feature films include Queens of Heart: Community Therapists in Drag, Guilty Except for Insanity, Mind Zone: Therapists Behind the Front Lines, Our Bodies Our Doctors, and the two-part series: Necessity: Oil, Water & Climate Resistance and Necessity: Climate Justice & the Thin Green Line.

Our Bodies Our Doctors won Best Documentary Feature at the 2019 Portland International Film Festival, and Best of SIFF at the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival, where she also won the Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision.

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