Welcome to Nuclear Land

Directed by Esther Hoffenberg

74 minutes / Color
French / English subtitles
Release: 2009
Copyright: 2009

With almost 70% of its electricity generation coming from nuclear power, France ranks as the most “nuclearized” country in the world. Setting out to understand the ramifications of this dependency, Esther Hoffenberg traveled to Normandy, the epicenter of France’s nuclear power generation and the site of the La Hague plant.
Through a series of interviews with local residents, politicians, industrial representatives, and environmental activists, Welcome to Nuclear Land explores France’s ambivalent relationship to nuclear power. While the Le Hague mayor dismisses environmental concerns, unscripted conversations with local residents and regulators reveal anxieties just underneath the surface. In a classroom discussion, students are shown field study results demonstrating elevated levels of radioactive material in local flora, prompting difficult questions about the environmental trade-offs of nuclear power generation. With the problem of radioactive waste disposal left unresolved, residents contemplate the ecological and health impacts of continued reliance on nuclear power—not just for themselves, but for future generations to come.

“With detailed and skillfully put together touches, this documentary paints a remarkable portrait of Normandy and smartly questions the management of nuclear waste.” —Télérama

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Select Accolades

  • CinemAmbiente, Torino 2010
  • Special Mention, Festival International du Film de Santé, Belgium 2012
  • Festival de Oullins « à nous de voir » 2010
  • Festival Environnement de Sées
  • Festival de Colombelles
  • Festival de Bonnet 2011
  • CorsicaDocs 2011
  • RISC Marseille 2011
  • DocHouse London November 2013


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