The Golden Rule Image

The Golden Rule

By Chris Salce | March 15, 2021

The Golden Rule, which gets its name from an old comic strip, centers on the Santa Susana nuclear meltdown in California and its effects on the land and people surrounding it. Some have compared the meltdown to that of Chernobyl due to the long-lasting after-effects.

The Santa Susana plant sat in the hills of Simi Valley, California, where it was a rocket engine testing site for NASA, as well as liquid metals. It operated from 1949 to the 2000s. During that time, there were several nuclear reactors that had a meltdown. The people in the surrounding areas have since reported many illnesses, mainly cancerous, and have urged that the site have a thorough cleanup and be shut down for good.

The citizens wanted the soil of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory to be tested. After tests were conducted, the soil was deemed safe. Yet, citizens refused to believe the results due to the unusual cancer rates in the area. Many would report several cases of cancer within the family. Some children even had cancer twice within their young lives. Simi Valley residents went as far as to get their scientists to test the soil in which the scientist found the soil to be highly contaminated. It was not until 2006 that California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (CDTS) headed the testing and declared the soil unsafe.

“…looks at the effects of nuclear plants, the pollution they leave behind, and why they should be shut down.”

Although the documentary mainly centers on the Santa Susana nuclear plant, it also mentions a few other environmental disasters around the country, such as the contamination of the water in Flint, Michigan. Overall, The Golden Rule looks at the effects of nuclear plants, the pollution they leave behind, and why they should be shut down.

Many great points are made in the film because nuclear plants are no-good, but there are no counterarguments made for this to be a debate of any kind. Directors Diane Mellen and Stacey Stone have many interviews with the citizens living around the plant and some former employees who speak out against it, but it lacks interviews of those that defend the use of nuclear plants. I would assume that many defenders likely refused to be a part of a controversial documentary in fear of ruining their reputation. Still, it would have made for a more interesting narrative on this important topic had there been a more thorough exploration of both sides.

Despite the lack of using its platform as a debate, The Golen Rule is still a very interesting movie that brings awareness to an issue that should be discussed more often. Ultimately, I believe that this is the goal of the filmmakers. It is not just a problem that one class, ethnicity, or nationality faces, but an issue that the entire planet faces.

The Golden Rule (2021)

Directed and Written: Diane Mellen, Stacey Stone

Starring: Ed Asner, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The Golden Rule Image

"…many great points are made..."

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  1. Ren Jacob says:

    Wondering if you have heard of the peace boat called ‘Golden Rule’ beginning in 1958 protesting nuclear weapons testing at the time and today.
    goldenrule.org

  2. Edith says:

    A very important film. It was fantastic.

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