The documentary tells the story of the economically devastated rural mining community of Naturita in southwestern Colorado that finds itself hopeful for the first time in decades after a company proposes building a uranium mill nearby. The mill – the first to be built in the U.S. in 30 years – sparks an emotional debate that pits many Naturita residents against an environmental group based in nearby a resort town.
In “Uranium Drive-In,” both sides of the issues concerning uranium mining are brought to life in heart-wrenching detail. The film captures personal stories to paint a portrait of the lives of those who are affected by the issue.
Directed by Suzan Beraza, the documentary is not a story about the nuclear industry, rather, it is a “heart-wrenching story about unemployed uranium workers in an economically depressed town who are desperate for the high-paying jobs that the mill will provide,” according to the film’s website. The movie also tells the story of members of the environmental group who are “determined to fight the uranium mill, and protect the water, air and landscape from the radioactive pollution that it will potentially create.”
“Uranium Drive-In” also tells the story of those who suffer from lung disease acquired while working for the uranium industry in mines and mills that were dismantled decades ago. Uranium Drive-In is a story of hope, about people who hope for the prosperity that the nuclear industry promises, and about people who hope to save the West from the devastation the nuclear industry has wrought in the past.
“I went into the project assuming that this mill was a bad idea ... ” Beraza writes in a statement on the website. “After spending two years in this community really getting to know people and why they so desperately wanted the mill, I grew to understand that the issue wasn’t nearly as black and white as I had originally assumed ...”