When Chris Nolan went to Japan to volunteer in the cleanup of the 2011 Japanese Tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, he saw what was being reported in both Japanese and world media did not match the true scope of the crisis and tragedy he was seeing on the ground. He painstakingly shot footage and interviews with survivors over a 6 month period to record the stories not being reported to the outside world. Through grassroots support and crowdfunding, Nolan has put together 3.11: Surviving Japan, an important documentary that is a critical look at how the authorities handled the nuclear crisis and Tsunami relief. It features true stories from those affected by the disaster, the government and even TEPCO. It highlights the struggle in dealing with: The Tsunami clean-up, Government response to the disaster, radiation plus the future of nuclear power after the accident. On Monday, March 11, the 2nd anniversary of the disaster, the movie will be having a limited premiere in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and New York City. The screening will benefit the Save Minami-Soma Project, providing clean water and food to Japanese citizens still living in radioactive waste. Tickets can only be purchased in advance by March 11 and will not be available at the box office, so get yours here.
It’s forgotten history that Los Angeles had its own near nuclear disaster when the Sodium Reactor Experiment, the first nuclear reactor in the US to power a city, had a partial meltdown on July 1959. It’s taken over 50 years to clean up and will be another 50,000 years before the contaminated groundwater returns to normal. Today, there is a continuing controversial debate on the safety of the nuclear power station at San Onofre. We Angelenos live in an area due for an earthquake of potentially devastating magnitude and with nuclear power in our own backyard, this documentary is essential viewing for everyone here. It’s also a wake-up call to examine world-wide practices of open-air burning of nuclear waste and dumping of radioactive water into our oceans.