Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise Storyville


Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise

A Storyville documentary: an impressionistic kaleidoscope of our nuclear times - protest marches, Cold War sabre-rattling and Chernobyl - but also the beauty of the atomic world.


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Transcript


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The Government has decided

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that in the present state of international tension,

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you should be told how best to protect yourselves

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from the dangerous effects of nuclear attack.

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If this tension should lead to war,

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it is essential that you shall have taken every possible precaution

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to safeguard your family, yourself and your home.

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This film will show what are the dangers to expect

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and the best means of protection.

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-LOUDSPEAKER:

-'Put on your goggles.

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'Observers without goggles must face away from the blast.'

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SHIP'S FOGHORN BLARES

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-SAMPLED VOICE:

-Scientists...

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Scientists...

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GEIGER COUNTER RUMBLES

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CLOCK TICKS

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MUFFLED CHATTER

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RUMBLING

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WHOOSHING

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From the beginning of 1945,

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the whole of Japan was within the bombing range

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of the United States Strategic Air Force, based in the Marianas.

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The people seem to us quaint, a little amusing,

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with their polite formalities.

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The cherry blossom...

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and the sharp sword.

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Humility...

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and arrogance.

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A taste for the delicate...

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and the gross.

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The real Japan, the aggressor we fought to destroy,

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was based on the creed of blind obedience to the state.

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It's not difficult to create a race of puppets

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if you start on them young and never let up.

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Taught that death in battle is the greatest glory.

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Mr President, why did you drop the atom bomb?

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Three weeks after the first experimental blast,

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an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

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Only two minutes to go.

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The standby signal to all hands.

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Those neutrons bombard other uranium atoms,

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causing them to split, and split still others.

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The result?

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-A chain reaction.

-EXPLOSION

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Over a million billion billion atoms exploding within two seconds.

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15...

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10...

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Five...four...three...

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two...one.

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We stood for a minute in silence,

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as we used to stand on Armistice Day.

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WIND WHISTLES

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We look at the world...

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and we see madness.

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Today, we live under the threat of nuclear weapons

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with a destructive power 1,000 times greater

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than those exploded at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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What IS the American way of life?

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Or the British way of life, or the Russian way of life?

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The fact of the matter is, it isn't a darn thing if we do not have life.

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I feel that if we really are interested in the future

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of our children, this is the smallest thing we can do,

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to join this procession, in our small way, to ensure their future.

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JAZZ BAND PLAYS

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I did this march in the lockout in 1926.

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We slept on the Corn Exchange floor at Reading

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and we had sausage and mash in Maidenhead Workhouse,

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supplied by the Co-operative Society.

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I was very proud of that march,

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but I'd be frightfully ashamed of myself

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if I had not come on this march.

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I would never be able to look the children in the face

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if I had not come on this march.

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It isn't much, but it's all I can do, and it's my best,

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and if everybody else did their best, the children of the future

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would be saved from the atom and hydrogen bomb.

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Tension continues to mount in the world situation.

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Nevertheless, the Government has just announced

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that its negotiations are continuing.

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There were fresh reports today of an unidentified submarine

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shadowing units of the United States fleet

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at present carrying out manoeuvres in the Far East.

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Now, here's an important announcement.

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The Government has decided to call up

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all members of the Civil Defence Corps

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to report to their headquarters.

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How on earth are we all going to stay in one little room

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for days and nights on end?

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We'd all end up in the madhouse!

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Better there than the mortuary, Mrs Richards.

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The Government has decided

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that in the present state of international tension,

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you should be told how best to protect yourselves

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from the dangerous effects of nuclear attack.

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EXPLOSION

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I'm going to explain to you the system of warning signals

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that will be used in this country in the event of a nuclear attack.

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AIR RAID SIREN BLARES

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-RADIO:

-An air attack is approaching this country now.

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WHISTLE BLOWS

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MUFFLED SHOUTS AND SCREAMS

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AIR RAID SIREN BLARES

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-LOUDSPEAKER:

-Flash. About turn.

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EXPLOSION

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EXPLOSION

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This bomb caused a Pacific island three miles long and one mile wide

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to completely disappear...

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..and it could do the same to a city.

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GEIGER COUNTER RUMBLES

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AEROPLANE ENGINE ROARS

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Many will show varying degrees of non-effectiveness.

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This will be due to the emotional impact

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of being exposed to massive physical destruction

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and great personal danger.

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There are certain basic principles to be followed

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in the treatment and management of mass psychological casualties.

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BABY CRIES

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EXPLOSION

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WHISTLES BLOW

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CHANTING

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By the end of next year, there will be 1,300

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American Air Force personnel moving into Greenham.

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SHOUTING

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WHISTLES BLOW

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There have been reports that demonstrators

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who approach the missile bunkers then will be shot.

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# Last night as I lay sleeping

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# My heart was filled with dread

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# I dreamt that the bomb had fallen

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# And a million people were dead

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# Millions of people were moaning

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# A million were lying there dead

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# I looked that whole scene over

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# And these were the words I said

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# We could have been happy and peaceful

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# The bomb could be banned easily

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# But those politicians

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# Did everything but agree

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# Then a voice came out of the rubble

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# "They're not only to blame

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# "We'll tell you who's really guilty"

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# Then they all started shouting my name

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# "You gave politicians their power

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# "You sat back and watched the TV

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# "You could have forced them to ban it

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# "You could have made them agree." #

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CAR ENGINE STARTS

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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CHANTING

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This government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance

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of the Soviet military build-up on the island of Cuba.

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CHEERING

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EXPLOSION

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HINGES SQUEAK

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HEAVY BREATHING THROUGH APPARATUS

0:28:090:28:14

MACHINERY RATTLES

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HEAVY BREATHING THROUGH APPARATUS

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AIR PRESSURE RUSHES

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ELECTRONIC HUM

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COGS WHIRR

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ROCKET ENGINE ROARS

0:29:310:29:33

ROCKET ENGINE ROARS

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On June 16th 1963, people everywhere were talking

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about the woman who had soared to the stars.

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We should stand and not have no bombs.

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I would like Britain to stay out.

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I don't agree with it at all, you know.

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I just think it is against the...

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The betterment of world peace, you know?

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So it's obviously completely untrue

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that nuclear weapons have prevented war.

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EXPLOSIONS

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AEROPLANE ENGINE ROARS

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'In a few moments,

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'this robot will cross the line that means death to any living being.'

0:34:120:34:16

APPLAUSE

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The fact that you, in your patriotic zeal,

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are willing to make your land radioactive forever...

0:34:410:34:45

How can you call yourself a patriot?

0:34:450:34:47

You have love for that land

0:34:470:34:49

-and you don't have any love for the people on that land?

-So that's...

0:34:490:34:52

Not just the land of India but the land of Pakistan.

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We all know that if you drop a bomb in India,

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Pakistanis will also die...

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from the same bomb, not from the retaliation.

0:34:580:35:02

'On a grey spring morning in 1961, the first of the Polaris

0:35:020:35:05

'nuclear submarines sailed up the Holy Loch in the Clyde.

0:35:050:35:09

'But nuclear disarmament protesters turned out in force

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'to greet the first American nuclear-armed naval forces

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'to arrive in Scotland.

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'A flotilla of canoes paddled out to the Proteus,

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'a US supply ship moored in the loch.

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'Attempts to board the Proteus were fended off by hoses,

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'but the protest was undeterred.'

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'The nuclear reactor aboard this Trafalgar class submarine

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'enables it to stay submerged for months.

0:35:470:35:50

'It needs refuelling only once every ten years.'

0:35:500:35:53

SHIP'S FOGHORN BLARES

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'It was 4:00am on the 28th of March, 1979.

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'The night shift controlling the second of two reactors...'

0:37:040:37:07

'At the Three Mile Island power station in Pennsylvania,

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'a series of human and mechanical errors

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'caused the nuclear reactor to overheat.

0:37:130:37:16

'As the temperature increased, so too did the risk

0:37:170:37:20

'that the radioactive fuel would escape its casing.'

0:37:200:37:24

WOMAN SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN

0:37:270:37:30

'Come over, my dear. I'm all alone here.

0:37:310:37:33

'Let's tell them how it all happened.

0:37:330:37:36

'By midnight, the air became as still as ever.

0:37:360:37:41

'At 1:00am, I suddenly heard a bang.

0:37:410:37:44

'This was followed by greyish black smoke topped by a mushroom.'

0:37:440:37:49

WOMAN SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN

0:38:010:38:04

'The story of Anna Khodemchuk.

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'He was coming home from Kiev and called on me.

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'Didn't stay long because he had to be in time for the night shift.'

0:38:120:38:16

'He went out in to the street, took a look at the yard,

0:38:160:38:19

'and said, "Goodbye.

0:38:190:38:21

'I said, "Good luck." He went away and I never saw my son again.'

0:38:210:38:27

ANNA SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN

0:38:300:38:33

'I just can't imagine that where there had been

0:38:330:38:36

'400 people working, he alone remained.

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'Wherever I go, I keep thinking of him.

0:38:390:38:43

'If only he would come to me in my dreams,

0:38:430:38:45

'but he never does.'

0:38:450:38:48

ANNA SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN

0:38:510:38:54

'If only there was a grave, but there was nothing left of him.

0:38:540:38:59

'I shall always remember how he stood there in the yard

0:38:590:39:02

'for the last time.

0:39:020:39:03

'I would have flown after him

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'if only I had wings, just to catch a glimpse of him.'

0:39:050:39:09

MAN SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN

0:39:240:39:27

'Chugunov, first reactor shop of the plant.'

0:39:270:39:30

'As I see it, this is not an accident - it's a catastrophe.'

0:39:310:39:36

'If you come up to this hood, it's 200.

0:39:530:39:55

'And there, near those pipes, which popped out of the apparatus

0:39:550:39:58

'during the explosion, it's approximately 1,000 roentgen.'

0:39:580:40:02

GEIGER COUNTER RUMBLES

0:40:240:40:28

MAN SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN

0:40:330:40:37

'I have lived here all of my life.

0:40:370:40:39

'My grandfather and father have lived here.

0:40:390:40:42

'And I've been here for 68 years now.'

0:40:420:40:44

'No-one ever heard of such misfortune, except the war.

0:40:490:40:53

'The war was simpler - go through the fighting and there you are.

0:40:530:40:57

'This is smothering everyone and poisoning everything.

0:40:570:41:01

'The best thing is to have no more radiation.

0:41:030:41:06

'Now, when many have stayed to work in the zone,

0:41:110:41:14

'and others have left their native parts,

0:41:140:41:16

'when the children have been taken away from here,

0:41:160:41:19

'one can't help noticing how our villages have aged.'

0:41:190:41:22

'We have a large household. How can I leave it just like that?

0:41:270:41:30

'A large kitchen garden, three cows, two pigs, 28 chickens,

0:41:300:41:35

'and all this is the work of my own hands.

0:41:350:41:37

'It's terrible to leave it go.

0:41:370:41:39

'But if it's necessary, we will leave.

0:41:410:41:44

'We'll work day and night just to set things right for our children,

0:41:440:41:48

'for all people on earth,

0:41:480:41:50

'because the sun and the sky are all very dear to us.'

0:41:500:41:54

Mr President, why did you drop the atom bomb?

0:42:010:42:06

WOMAN SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN

0:43:260:43:28

'When the sun came out at dawn, we felt our hearts would break.

0:43:280:43:32

'To think of the tears that were shed when we left our village.

0:43:320:43:36

'We're terribly homesick.'

0:43:360:43:38

MAN SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN

0:43:410:43:44

'Unfortunately, we cannot predict the changes

0:43:440:43:47

'that may take place ten generations from now.

0:43:470:43:50

'To think of the calamity that has befallen us.

0:43:500:43:53

'There's not a day that we don't cry.'

0:43:530:43:55

GEIGER COUNTER RUMBLES

0:44:400:44:44

GEIGER COUNTER RUMBLES

0:45:150:45:21

'In a few moments,

0:46:190:46:20

'this robot will cross the line that means death to any living being.'

0:46:200:46:24

'The robot will go on without the operator.

0:46:280:46:31

'He will stay behind a shelter with the control panel.

0:46:310:46:34

'He knows that here, too, time is measured in seconds.

0:46:340:46:38

'See how alert he is?

0:46:380:46:39

'That's because he's already aware of the danger that is imperceptible.

0:46:390:46:43

'It means that he has crossed into the age of nuclear power.

0:46:430:46:47

'No-one will gather these apples.

0:46:510:46:54

'They will rot together with their radioactive seeds.'

0:46:540:46:57

MAN SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN

0:47:160:47:19

'It's terrible to think, what if it had been an atom bomb?

0:47:190:47:22

'This was an explosion and there was tragedy galore.'

0:47:230:47:26

'It's the easiest thing to say

0:47:310:47:33

'that these fishermen haven't caught up with the nuclear age yet.

0:47:330:47:36

'But cannot those who have caught up with it see how closely

0:47:360:47:40

'we are bound to our common home, the earth?

0:47:400:47:43

'Is there anything that can replace it?'

0:47:430:47:45

Mishandled, nuclear fission can be very dangerous.

0:48:010:48:05

The world cannot afford accidents like Chernobyl or Three Mile Island.

0:48:050:48:09

'For the fishermen and crofters in this area of northernmost Scotland

0:48:240:48:28

'were the first people in the world to use electricity generated

0:48:280:48:31

'by a new kind of nuclear reactor,

0:48:310:48:33

'the fast breeder nuclear reactor.

0:48:330:48:35

'The Dounreay Fast Reactor or DFR

0:48:360:48:39

'was opened 14 years ago in 1959...'

0:48:390:48:41

I don't want to work on the nuclear reactors, so I'm not the slightest bit concerned about them.

0:49:140:49:18

I don't think so. I don't really worry about it.

0:49:180:49:20

It's all right, gives employment to a lot of people here.

0:49:200:49:23

No, it never worries us. None of us.

0:49:230:49:27

It's a good job it did come here,

0:49:270:49:29

otherwise there'd be no work or nothing here.

0:49:290:49:31

'The huge white cloud bursting across the horizon

0:49:450:49:48

'is the number one reactor shed,

0:49:480:49:50

'the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant,

0:49:500:49:53

'being torn apart by some kind of very large explosion.'

0:49:530:49:56

IN JAPANESE:

0:50:000:50:01

'Tuberculosis has attacked the joints and bones of these children,

0:51:310:51:34

'and in the old days they'd have grown up crippled and deformed,

0:51:340:51:38

'but today most of them can be cured.'

0:51:380:51:40

One can implant them in the body to power a...

0:51:580:52:01

..heart pacemaker to keep the heart going of a heart sufferer.

0:52:020:52:06

'Richard Rogers lectures at a technical college in Southampton.

0:52:070:52:10

'He suffers from an illness which makes him subject to fits.

0:52:100:52:14

'It was known that he had cancer of the liver.

0:52:150:52:18

'The Aberdeen researchers were keen to see if tumours would show up

0:52:180:52:21

'on the NMR scanner.

0:52:210:52:22

'They showed liver tumours far more clearly than expected.'

0:52:240:52:28

'Gamma rays are the most penetrating,

0:52:370:52:39

'but the least ionising.

0:52:390:52:41

'Not so penetrating, but more ionising, are neutrons,

0:52:410:52:45

'which are not rays, but particles.'

0:52:450:52:47

'In the fields of medicine and biochemistry,

0:52:560:52:59

'isotopes are performing near miracles

0:52:590:53:02

'of diagnosis and discovery.

0:53:020:53:04

'With radioactive sodium,

0:53:060:53:08

'doctors are solving more of the seeming mysteries of heart disease.'

0:53:080:53:12

ELECTRONIC SOUNDS

0:53:120:53:13

'The scan revealed that he was not epileptic.

0:53:230:53:26

'Such close monitoring would not have been possible without NMR.

0:53:280:53:32

'Mr Donald Longmore, who heads the NMR unit,

0:53:350:53:37

'was once a heart surgeon,

0:53:370:53:39

'but when he realised what NMR could do,

0:53:390:53:41

'he gave up surgery and devoted himself to this technique,

0:53:410:53:44

'which can warn of disease long before surgery is required.

0:53:440:53:48

'An eye mask, which allows detection of tiny spots on the eye,

0:53:500:53:54

'a tell-tale sign of brain tumours.

0:53:540:53:56

'Such experiments may one day give

0:53:560:53:59

'doctors that vital extra time to save human life.'

0:53:590:54:01

The atomic energy in...

0:54:130:54:16

well, just the paper of this book,

0:54:160:54:18

is the equivalent of the power produced by Hoover Dam

0:54:180:54:22

in one full year of operation.

0:54:220:54:25

Enough to supply the electrical needs of your home

0:54:250:54:28

for one million years.

0:54:280:54:30

'Christopher will be one of the very first children whose cancer cells

0:56:280:56:31

'are trapped by a magnet.'

0:56:310:56:34

The only reason we took her to the doctor originally

0:56:340:56:37

was because she was getting a lot of colds

0:56:370:56:39

and the doctor suspected there was something more than that wrong with her.

0:56:390:56:43

After our initial visit to our local hospital,

0:56:430:56:46

we were told not to worry.

0:56:460:56:48

They thought Elizabeth was a near miss for a certain syndrome.

0:56:480:56:52

And then I heard a radio programme and, as the programme progressed,

0:56:520:56:56

I realised that all the symptoms that they were talking about

0:56:560:56:59

were present in Elizabeth...

0:56:590:57:01

and developing.

0:57:010:57:03

And it was then that I realised what it was that she had.

0:57:030:57:06

'As Christopher's marrow flows through the tube,

0:57:200:57:23

'the cancer cells, covered in beads,

0:57:230:57:25

'are pulled down to the magnets and held fast.'

0:57:250:57:27

Hello, Chris. Can you hear me?

0:57:340:57:36

-Yes.

-Are you feeling sleepy?

0:57:360:57:38

'A weapon as ruthless as a death ray is switched on.

0:57:380:57:41

'Christopher is exposed to the equivalent of a nuclear explosion.'

0:57:440:57:48

-SHE SOBS:

-While she's alive,

0:57:530:57:56

there's hope.

0:57:560:57:57

While she was alive, all the time.

0:57:570:58:00

You know, it's back of your mind that it might happen.

0:58:000:58:02

You know you've been warned of it, but ...

0:58:020:58:05

..when it does happen, it's...

0:58:070:58:08

..quite a shock. It wasn't expected.

0:58:100:58:13

But...

0:58:130:58:14

I think...you know,

0:58:160:58:18

looking back on it,

0:58:180:58:20

at least we gave her a chance.

0:58:200:58:21

Otherwise, you know, she would have had no chance at all.

0:58:230:58:26

She was going to die anyway.

0:58:260:58:27

And...

0:58:290:58:31

we gave her a chance.

0:58:310:58:33

She's been spared an awful lot of suffering.

0:58:330:58:35

We have to be grateful for that.

0:58:370:58:39

UPLIFTING MUSIC

0:58:410:58:44

'And then there's the computer

0:59:330:59:34

'and all the tasks it can perform.

0:59:340:59:37

'This, too, is a spin-off from particle physics.

0:59:370:59:39

'CERN has developed a new part of the Internet,

0:59:410:59:44

'the World Wide Web.

0:59:440:59:45

'Scientists come here from all over the world.

0:59:470:59:50

'Over 70 different nationalities make this one of the most cosmopolitan places

0:59:500:59:54

'on the planet.'

0:59:540:59:55

Bonsoir.

0:59:550:59:56

TUNNEL WHIRS

1:00:031:00:05

SOUNDS ECHO

1:00:111:00:12

WHIRRING INTENSIFIES

1:00:171:00:18

MUSIC RESUMES

1:00:181:00:20

ONLY MUSIC PLAYS

1:00:271:00:28

'How will that nuclear fusion reactor work?

1:01:001:01:02

'It's the nucleus which provides the power

1:01:331:01:35

'by fusing or joining with other nuclei.'

1:01:351:01:37

'Some people think that to dance is frivolous,

1:02:001:02:03

'that it means you're not serious, up for a good time.

1:02:031:02:07

'Gaiety is part of this thing, too.

1:02:071:02:10

'It's no use being against death

1:02:101:02:12

'if you don't how to enjoy life while you've got it.'

1:02:121:02:15

MUSIC ENDS

1:02:221:02:23

TRANSLATION: 'The soldiers warned us not to come here,

1:02:261:02:29

'but nobody's going to shoot anyway.'

1:02:291:02:31

We came to do some fishing today.

1:02:371:02:39

What's there to be afraid of?

1:02:391:02:41

This isn't the first time we've been eating the fish.

1:02:411:02:44

Can it be contaminated in the water?

1:02:481:02:50

Or maybe the organism gets used to it?

1:02:501:02:52

To our mind, these are peaceful times and not wartime.

1:02:591:03:03

It's the easiest thing to say

1:03:101:03:12

that these fishermen haven't caught up with the nuclear age yet.

1:03:121:03:15

But cannot those who have caught up with it

1:03:151:03:18

see how closely we are bound to our common home, the earth?

1:03:181:03:22

Is there anything that can replace it?

1:03:221:03:24

HE SPEAKS IN OWN LANGUAGE

1:03:261:03:28

Who knows whether we'll be taking in the crop or not?

1:03:491:03:52

But we do our best to think of the future.

1:03:551:03:57

ELECTRONIC HEARTBEAT

1:04:071:04:09

TRANSLATION: But if it's necessary, we will leave.

1:04:181:04:21

We'll work day and night

1:04:211:04:23

just to set things right for our children,

1:04:231:04:25

for all people on earth,

1:04:251:04:27

because the sun and the sky are all very dear to us.

1:04:271:04:30

MUSIC INTENSIFIES

1:05:021:05:04

SIREN WAILS

1:07:371:07:39

'9:16 AM...

1:07:391:07:40

'A single megaton nuclear missile overshoots Manston airfield in Kent

1:07:401:07:44

'and airbursts six miles from this position.'

1:07:441:07:47

BOY SCREAMS

1:07:511:07:53

PEOPLE SCREAM

1:07:531:07:55

MAN SHOUTS

1:07:561:07:58

The bombing of Hiroshima showed the appalling destructive power of the atomic bomb. Mark Cousins's bold documentary looks at death in the atomic age, but life too. Using only archive film and a new musical score by the band Mogwai, the film shows us an impressionistic kaleidoscope of our nuclear times - protest marches, Cold War sabre-rattling, Chernobyl and Fukishima - but also the sublime beauty of the atomic world, and how x-rays and MRI scans have improved human lives. The nuclear age has been a nightmare, but dreamlike too.


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