Atomic Africa

A film by Marcel Kolvenbach

The film reveals the hidden agenda of the nuclear industry in Africa and the alarming consequences for people and the environment. In collusion with corrupt governments and questionable business partners energy companies source uranium for their domestic markets. And – faced with an apparent “sales problem” of nuclear technology in the Western world – they also lobby African governments to buy nuclear power plants.

Otherwise well informed high-level decision makers in Africa seem oblivious to the risks of nuclear power. They happily welcome the prospect of a seemingly endless, cheap and clean energy source. And their national pride is fuelled by the fact that the radioactive raw material for the new reactors doesn’t need to be imported from other countries – it’s hidden in the African soil.

The film shows the dilemma of the African continent: It desperately needs cheap and reliable electric power for its development – but instead of being able to use its own resources, Africa is forced to sell off its riches to corrupt multinational enterprises. The sobering conclusion: In the future, African governments will need to give up their unrealistic nuclear ambitions and develop appropriate technologies to free themselves from their technological dependence on Western enterprises.


WDR, VRT, TVE – 2013 – 90 min and 52 min

Gold World Medal Environment & Ecology, New York Film Festival, Winner Green Report Greenscreen Festival, Best Documentary & TV Report FIFEL Lausanne, Environmental Film Festival Washington, Environmental Investigation Award, Japan Wildlife Film Festival, Nominee Grimme Award, Nominee Best Environmental & Wildlife Program Rockie Award, Banff, NaturVision Ludwigsburg, Uranium Film Festival Brasilien, Ökofilmtour Potsdam, New York Film Festival – Gold Medal, Japan Wildlife Festival – Environmental Investigation Award

Research: Jolijn Geels  (Niger), Jeanette Mokobane  (Südafrika), Simone Schlindwein (Kongo DRC)

Editing: Karl-Heinz Satzger

Assi of Editing: Andreas Walter

Translation: Elizabeth Muthee

Sound: Markus Löbel

Narrator: Michael Ché-Koch, Daniela Bette-Koch, Gregor Höppner, Wolfgang Luck

Original Music: Imaran‘ Aïr D‘Agadez

Music: Martin-Luc Vansteenkiste

Research WDR-Archiv: Bärbel Fixemer, Karl H. Rex

Assi of Editor: Philip Jedecke, Lukas Roegler

Editor: Jutta Krug (WDR)