A year ago, Martijn Hart and I (Heidi Hutner) met. In our first conversation, I told him about the book I was/am writing, ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN: VOICES OF WOMEN AND NUCLEAR DISASTERS. Each chapter in my book deals with a different nuclear disaster--Three Mile Island, Fukushima, the Rocky Flats weapons factory, and so on. Each disaster story is told through the eyes of a woman or a few women--up close and personal.
Martijn, a Dutch cameraman and DP immediately said: "You need to make a movie about this."
I thought he was crazy, but....maybe he was right?
An idea was hatched....
Months later, we began shooting at Three Mile Island (the plan is for this to be our first episode--like my book, we will cover various disaster stories/locations).
There, we met Linda, Joyce, Paula, Beth, as well as Maria and Gene (all featured in the "sizzle"--the film teaser-- on the home page of this site).
It was three-thirty a.m., March 28th, at the hour and day of the meltdown that happened in 1979. These folks make this vigil every year. Trains roared by as the victims huddled in a prayer circle and shared their tales.
I huddled with them. Martijn filmed.
I was shocked at what I heard. Tears ran down my face.
As Paula says, "Nobody cared about us. Not the power plant owners, not the government."
Soon after the accident, because it was clear to the mothers that "the officials were either lying or they had no idea what they were doing, or both," they joined forces to form Mothers and Concerned Citizens. These apolitical homemakers, suddenly became 'awakened' social, political and environmental change makers.
"We are mothers and now grandmothers, trying to protect our kids," they all say.
Many of their family members are now sick with cancer (children and grandchildren as well), and their local community is riddled with cancer and neurological and other diseases. The mothers believe that proper studies were never done by the authorities in the community to look at the effect of the radiation exposures.
New studies show higher-than-normal rates of cancer among the local residents. Radiation releases from the accident were higher than initially reported.
Today, the mothers are still at work. Unit 1 at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant remains in operation, and massive amounts of radioactive waste is stored onsite. The radioactive waste at nuclear power plants stays highly dangerous for thousands of years.
Women have been the peacemakers and leaders in opposition to nuclear power and weapons since the 1950s--yet their views are rarely taken into account in public policy and nuclear strategy. Women and children are also the most vulnerable to radiation exposures.
It's time for change.
The voices of women must be heard.
We need your help to complete this important film. Every penny will help. Your donations are tax-deductible. The donation button may be found at top of the home page.
Heidi and Martijn