Stockpile: The New Nuclear Menace

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

Stephen Trombly's sobering documentary, produced for cable's Discovery Channel, looks past the psychological legacy of the nuclear arms race to its tangible remains: thousands of aging weapons stored in facilities in the US and Russia. Trombly opens with footage of the wildfire that swept New Mexico in 2000 and focused public attention on the terrifying...read more

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Stephen Trombly's sobering documentary, produced for cable's Discovery Channel, looks past the psychological legacy of the nuclear arms race to its tangible remains: thousands of aging weapons stored in facilities in the US and Russia. Trombly opens with footage of the wildfire that swept New Mexico in 2000 and focused public attention on the terrifying cache of weapons stored in the fire-threatened Los Alamos National Laboratory facility, then backtracks to examine the development of atomic and nuclear weapons. Trombly mixes archival footage and interviews with surviving members of the Manhattan Project and their Russian counterparts, and visits both Los Alamos and Arzamas-16, the "nuclear city" east of Moscow whose very existence was such a top-level secret that it still doesn't appear on Russian maps. Trombly makes it frighteningly clear that the past-their-prime warheads are lethally dangerous even if they're never used in a military capacity. Just their day-to-day maintainence is dangerous (we're told that at least two Los Alamos employees are hospitalized every day as a result of radiation accidents) and no matter how slowly the radioactive cores decay, they're decaying nonetheless — who can predict with absolute certainty what the results will be? Simply maintaining the current inventory is ruinously expensive — it costs some $4.8 billion a year to maintain the worldwide stockpile — and the thought of what's become of the tons of plutonium that have gone missing from Arzamas-16 since the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union is chilling.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Stephen Trombly's sobering documentary, produced for cable's Discovery Channel, looks past the psychological legacy of the nuclear arms race to its tangible remains: thousands of aging weapons stored in facilities in the US and Russia. Trombly opens with f… (more)

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