Over the past two nights, a wonderful mini-series aired on PBS. The series is called Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail. The series is hosted of Derek Muller, a YouTube personality. And I thought he did a good job hosting. The first hour of the series focused on the history of uranium and the atomic bomb. Derek went to places like Australia, where the first uranium was discovered, to the Czech Republic, where the first uranium/silver was mined, to New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was tested. And it profiled the area in Japan where the atomic bomb was dropped. The hour had great science and graphics to it, like the dragon changing colors in the different processes of uranium. And the pool scene where pool balls were used to represent a uranium atom, that was a good way talking about atoms!
The second episode was more of what can happen when uranium is abused. Derek went to Chernobyl and the areas around it where it is contaminated with radiation. Yes, it’s a city in ruins and it shows you what would happen if human civilization ceased to exist. The soccer ball animation about half-life was cool! The episode also shows the good side of nuclear, the non-dangerous side where it can be used to save lives. The episode also talks about the recent Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the nuclear disaster in Japan. We get to see another area where it’s abandoned, and nature is just starting to take over the area. You still see the traffic lights running, and Coke machines with products in them.
Derek follows a family back to their home with high levels of radiation. And just like the areas around Chernobyl, that area will be without people for hundreds of years. The end talks about the future for uranium. Guess what, nuclear power is not going away and more plants are being built. And more waste from nuclear plants will be generated. So what is the future of uranium? Keep using it and risk accidents like Chernobyl and Japan. Or abandon it and never use it again. At the end, uranium will still be around! I found this as a wonderful series about the history and used of uranium. It told the story in simple terms with great interviews and animations.
If you want to learn about the history of uranium, what uranium has been used for and how it’s being used today, and what could happen when uranium is misused and abused, this series told you everything! And one more thing, this series shows you that people who do YouTube videos can be good hosts on TV! You just have to give them a chance to shine! See, YouTube is not a place to watch cat videos, there is some good stuff on there! Uranium – Twisting The Dragon’s Tail will air in other countries over the next month, you should watch it! For us in the United States, you can watch it now for free at: http://www.pbs.org/program/uranium-twisting-dragons-tail/