Your tax-deductible contribution will help us complete the filming phase (already 80% shot) and begin editing.

THE NUCLEAR GAMBLE A Project of Documentaries


A Feature-Length Documentary
Directed, Produced and Edited by Robbie Leppzer
A Turning Tide Production

Film Description

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod Bay – just 35 miles from Boston, is ranked as the worst operating nuclear reactor in the country by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The NRC – the federal agency in charge of regulating and monitoring the safety of nuclear plants – gave Pilgrim this designation due to a series of on-going equipment failures leading to numerous emergency unplanned shutdowns, as well as a long history of failing to comply with previous corrective actions ordered by the NRC. One of the most serious accidental shutdowns occurred during a major blizzard in January 2015. It resulted in an associated cascade of equipment failures and was dubbed a "near miss" by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Conditions deteriorated to the point where the NRC sent a third and most comprehensive special inspection team to Pilgrim in early December 2016 to analyze the root causes of this problem-plagued nuclear plant. One week into the inspection, a confidential internal NRC memo, written by the NRC inspection team leader, was accidentally released to the public and became front-page news in the Boston Globe and Cape Cod Times.

The memo described in unusually frank terms the disturbing conditions observed by the NRC:

"The plant seems overwhelmed by just trying to run the station."

"Well established programs have not been followed."

"The corrective actions in the recovery plan seem to have been hastily developed and implemented, and some have been circumvented as they were deemed too hard to complete. We are observing current indications of a safety culture problem that a bunch of talking probably won't fix."

"It appears that many staff across the site may not have the standards to know what "good" actually is. There is a lot of positive energy, but no one seems to know what to do with it, to improve performance, leading to procedural non-compliances, poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems."

And yet, three months later on March 21, 2017, when the NRC held a public forum in Plymouth to announce the conclusions of their special inspection, officials did their best to downplay the severity of the conditions, so bluntly named in their confidential memo. "Safety margins were adequate," declared NRC Bureau Chief Arthur Burritt.

The NRC greenlighted the recent refueling of Pilgrim, which will allow the nuclear power plant to operate two more years. Entergy announced in October 2015 that it would permanently close Pilgrim in June 2019, because it was losing money and didn't want to make the investments necessary to keep it running, even though it received a renewed license to run the plant until 2032.

Dismayed with the NRC's lack of proper oversight, the entire bipartisan southeastern Massachusetts state legislative delegation called for the immediate closure of Pilgrim at the March 21 forum.

The Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times and Patriot Ledger have all published staff editorials over the past year calling for the immediate closure of Pilgrim.

BOSTON GLOBE 9/13/16:It's too risky to wait for Pilgrim plant's shutdown

Cape Cod Times 4/10/16: Close Pilgrim immediately

Patriot Ledger 1/20/17: Time to pull the plug on Pilgrim

Citizen activists, who have long been calling for the closure of Pilgrim, point out that the next two years will be the most dangerous time ever for the Pilgrim reactor, as Entergy has made it abundantly clear that they don't want to invest money in the plant and have exhibited an on-going pattern of cutting corners and deferring maintenance in order to save costs.

However, with a nuclear power plant, the risks of a catastrophic accident are too great to cut corners with safety, as millions of people could be affected.


How YOU Can Help!

After 6 years of filming, we're at a critical stage now as 80% of the principle photography has been completed.

We need to raise $100,000 to complete the filming phase and begin editing.

YOUR TAX-DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTION will help us achieve these goals!

About The Filmmaker

For the past 40 years, Robbie Leppzer has been making documentary films that chronicle people who stick their necks out to work for positive social change in the world.

Robbie is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and radio producer who has directed over thirty documentaries over the past forty years. His critically acclaimed feature-length and short documentaries, as well as commissioned television news magazine segments, about contemporary social issues have been broadcast by CNN International, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, HBO/Cinemax, PBS, CNN, Sundance Channel, HDNet, Link TV, Free Speech TV, National Public Radio, and Pacifica Radio.

Leppzer's newest feature-length documentary, POWER STRUGGLE (2017), chronicles the heated political battle to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vermont.

­In 2014, Leppzer co-produced, in association with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation - Japan's public broadcaster and largest television network), a 50-minute Japanese version of POWER STRUGGLE, which was nationally broadcast in Japan.

For more information about POWER STRUGGLE or to watch a film trailer, visit:

For more information on Robbie Leppzer's previous documentaries, check out our Turning Tide Productions website.


Your tax-deductible contribution will help us complete the filming phase (already 80% shot) and begin editing.

$635 Raised
1% towards $100,000 Goal

Supported by 6 Donations:

  • John N.
    I Gave $50
    New England endangered, 99.5% asleep
  • Lawrence D.
    I Gave $50
    We were so impressed when we saw Power Struggle in Plymouth that we want to help support the sequel about the Pilgrim Plant.
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $50
    Loved Power Struggle!