IGNACIO, Cara Isabela D. Group 5
“The arrogance of man is in thinking that nature is in our control, and not the other way around.”
- Ken Watanabe, 2014
Out of all monster movies I have seen, Godzilla is definitely my favorite. I remember watching Godzilla as a kid, passively. It’s the type of movie where one does not need to think. You just watch in awe as a giant lizard destroys buildings and pretty much everything in it’s way. Last Friday, I watched a remake of Godzilla and, although I enjoyed seeing things being blown up on screen, it just wasn’t the typical monster movie anymore. It touched something deeper which, as a child, I wouldn’t have understood. Nuclear power.
The movie starts with that-guy-from-Breaking-Bad who works in a nuclear plant (such exposure to radiation gives him cancer years later, leading him to cook meth) noticing some strange seismic activity. However, such concerns of his are ignored, and thus, resulting in a huge tragedy. This scene is very similar to what happened in the Fukushima nuclear plant 3 years ago.
Nuclear power has always had a negative ring to it, the source of which is the atomic bomb which caused destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There have been numerous debates on nuclear power. Those Anti-Nuclear argue that it is too expensive, too risky, and too dangerous in the age of terrorism. However, those Pro-Nuclear argue that it is needed in order to address the increasing energy demand and climate change.
Those Pro-Nuclear have made some good arguments. Nuclear power is cleaner. It has zero carbon emission unlike fossil fuels which produce dangerous levels of pollution. Byproducts of burning fossil fuel are carbon dioxide which deplete the protection of the ozone and sulfur which results in acid rain. Nuclear plants are also more reliable. They need less fuel and are less vulnerable to shortages. Wind turbines will not work when the wind stops blowing. Also, fossil fuels are running out and uranium reserves are larger. Some notable nuclear programs are that of Sweden and France have been very safe and delivered a lower carbon footprint than other countries.
However, those Anti-Nuclear also have good arguments. In order to acquire Uranium, one must harvest it. A disadvantage to uranium mining is that it leaves residues from the chemical processing of the ore, thus, leading to radon exposure to the public. Also, nuclear waste has half lives that last 10,000 years. Managing the waste is expensive. Many underground sites have been constructed but these are filled in just months. Storage facilities are not enough and this limits the amount of nuclear fuel that can be used per year. Meltdowns are also possible. If there is a loss of coolant water in a fission reactor, rods may overheat. These rods that contain uranium fuel pellets would dissolve, leaving the fuel exposed. When fuel rods heat to the 2800°C, the fuel melts and a hot molten mass would melt it’s way through the containment vessels to the ground below. Such happened at the Chernobyl facility in Ukrain back in 1986, releasing radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere. 31 died immediately while 15,000 more died after exposure to the radiation.
Godzilla may be the action-packed, monster movie we now know but it goes way back in Japanese history. The original Godzilla movie was released in 1954 and back then, it was called Gojira. The original film was released less than 10 years after the Hiroshima Nagasaki incident. But it was an incident in 1954 that inspired Godzilla. The Americans accidentally tested a Hydrogen bomb too close to a Japanese fishing vessel. In this movie, there were scenes that recall Japan’s nuclear disasters. There were scenes that depict the carnages. There were also scenes depicting the radiation poisoning brought about by the nuclear Godzilla. Gojira was one of the first movies showing the experience of Japan at the end or World War II when atomic bombs killed millions of civilians.
Going to the Godzilla I watched last Friday, it is not as brutal as the original Gojira. Godzilla was not depicted as a “bad” monster. In fact, Godzilla saves humans against the havoc of MUTO. Godzilla was the alpha predator. In the movie, the military wanted to destroy MUTO using bombs which would lead to numerous deaths and destruction to the environment. In the end, it was only Godzilla who could destroy MUTO and nothing else. Godzilla leaves us an important message, that nature is beyond our control.
(World Nuclear Association, 2014)