Was 50th anniversary movie Dr No negative for nuclear?
12 January 2012
Fifty years ago tomorrow (16 January) filming began on Dr No, the first James Bond movie.
The spectacular spy movie made instant icons of its stars Sean Connery and Ursula Andress.
Shell-collecting Honey Ryder steering her bikini through the Jamaican surf became one of the lasting images of the 1960s, up there with The Beatles and the Mini car.
Another scene that burned into the memory of audiences was that of the nuclear laboratory and reactor run by the SPECTRE-funded megalomaniac arch-villain at his Caribbean lair.
Unfortunately, the phenomenal success of Dr No ensured that hundreds of millions of cinemagoers - and television viewers since - have been subjected to a daunting representation of nuclear power as a barely-controllable force for evil.
Now, half a century since Dr No, hampered by his steely hands, met his death in the reactor's cooling pool, countless people still fear nuclear and worries were only heightened by last year's tsunami that hit a Japanese reactor. After his adventure with Dr No, Bond battled many other nuclear criminal masterminds in subsequent films. Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough all feature plots centred on the negative potential of nuclear power.
The Japanese nuclear incident led to Germany declaring its intention to abandon nuclear power, a decision which the Royal Society of Chemistry criticised as ill-considered and unwise.
The Royal Society of Chemistry has voiced its support for a renaissance of nuclear power in the UK, calling for expansion of training and skills to ensure that its planned new generation of reactors are properly built, and maintained and nuclear waste is flawlessly-managed.
Royal Society of Chemistry President Professor David Phillips, said today: "The way that nuclear energy has been depicted in film and television drama has been remorselessly grim over the decades and it is not at all surprising that the public at home and abroad are sceptical.
"But the RSC asserts that nuclear power has to be part of the future national energy mix, in which it plays a major role, complemented by renewable sources. Fossil fuels have to be eradicated for people to live in a healthy environment."
Professor Phillips added: "Who hasn't seen a James Bond movie without enjoyment? This was the Bond debut film and it set the standard for the 22 films made since 1962.
But when viewers see it they should discard the images of unfettered atomic threat. Sit back, enjoy the drama and the glamour and be assured that, with provision of the right skills and training, this country will be well set for a safe and prosperous nuclear future.
"Let's say yes to nuclear and no to Dr No's nonsense."
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