Film poster for "The New Fire" with leaves sculpting a building plant.
Film poster for "The New Fire" with leaves sculpting a building plant.
What if the Solution to Climate Change is Hiding in Plain Sight?


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​HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Educational Media Reviews Online | RECOMMENDED ★★★ - Video Librarian

Environmental Studies • Engineering • Public Affairs • Business • Sustainability Studies • International Relations

Date of Completion: 2017 | Run Time: 84 minutes​​ (59 minute version also available through streaming only)​​ | Language: English | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript Director: David Schumacher

THE NEW FIRE tells a provocative and startlingly positive story about a planet in crisis and the young heroes who are trying to save it. Nuclear power has been vilified in popular culture and among much of the environmental community. Yet the next-generation reactors currently in development may actually be key to avoiding global catastrophe. The young entrepreneurs heading this energy revolution realize they’re up against more than the climate clock – they need to convince all of us that the "new nuclear" is safe and achievable.

Filmed across four continents over the course of twenty-two months, Emmy® award-winning director David Schumacher’s film focuses on how the generation facing the most severe impact of climate change is fighting back with ingenuity and hope. Featuring Jeffrey Sachs, Bill Gates, James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and nuclear start-ups Oklo, Transatomic, and TerraPower.

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Reviewed by Bonnie Jo Dopp, Librarian Emerita, University of Maryland
Highly Recommended
"This hopeful, informative film depicts young nuclear engineers designing small, safe, advanced nuclear plants and starting new businesses to sell them to investors who aim to build them as soon as possible wherever sustainable non-carbon energy sources that do not pollute the atmosphere are welcome (currently in Canada, China, and India). [...] The wisdom of older engineers like James Hansen is shown here but because the emphasis is on young women and men doing important things about their future, even middle school science enthusiasts would find this program inspiring."

Video Librarian ★★★
Reviewed by C. Cassady
"Schumacher turns the camera lens on brave, young, idealistic, and mediagenic innovator-entrepreneurs from MIT and other labs, who are formulating 'nuclear 2.0' [...] A notable [...] entry into the sustainability debate, the film also includes comments from nuclear proponent Bill Gates and author Tom Blees. Recommended."

Jeff Nesbit, Executive Director of Climate Nexus and Author of This is the Way the World Ends
"People will some day look back from a future where safe, clean, advanced nuclear power is a reality and recognize that this film was the catalyst that inspired a new generation of climate heroes to become nuclear engineers."

Illinois Institute of Technology | Jeff Terry, Professor of Physics
"The New Fire tells the story of three advanced nuclear startups and in doing so, lays out the reasons why new nuclear is needed. This isn’t An Inconvenient Truth – it’s a new reality. We’re going to have to combat climate change, and we’re going to have to use nuclear power to do so. Some companies may succeed and some may fail. The question is: will humanity fail to address climate change because we fear nuclear power?"

Richard Rhodes, Author of Energy: A Human History
"This smart, compelling documentary is filled with idealistic young engineers convinced that nuclear power is the right energy to match with renewables to fight global warming. I think they’re right—and I think you will too after you meet them, breathe their enthusiasm, and see and hear their bold new ideas."

Columbia University | Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Development, The Earth Institute
"With the urgency of transitioning to a low-carbon energy system, the debate over next-generation nuclear power takes on a special significance. The New Fire is the most important and captivating documentary film treatment of this issue. The film follows several young entrepreneurs on their quest for safe, flexible, and low-cost advanced nuclear technologies. Of great interest for all who are searching for solutions to the world’s climate-and-energy crisis."

MIT | Kerry A. Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science
"The New Fire shows us that the path to avoiding serious climate risk can be one of plenitude and prosperity rather than sacrifice and scarcity. All those who are truly serious about our future must see this film."

Clean Air Task Force | Armond Cohen, Executive Director
"Taming climate change is a momentous challenge that is going to require every zero carbon technology we can affordably deploy, and The New Fire offers real hope that a new generation of nuclear technology can be part of that mix."

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions Bob Perciasepe, President
"The New Fire will inspire all with its revelations of the amazing entrepreneurial spirit around nuclear innovation. New and advanced nuclear power can provide us with clean and safe solutions to address our climate and energy challenge."

David Schumacher began his career touring the US and Canada as a rock and jazz guitarist after receiving his B.Mus.from Berklee College of Music. He entered the world of film and television as a sound recordist, working with such esteemed filmmakers as Barbara Kopple and Ken Burns. Inspired by their example and drawn to environmental issues, he has since gone into producing and directing. David earned a 2010 New York Emmy® for creating, producing and directing the TV series NYCMusicShow. THE NEW FIRE marks David’s first turn directing a feature film. He has been a featured presenter at the European Nuclear Young Generation Forum 2015, Paris (ENYGF 2015), Nuclear Energy Assembly 2017 (NEA 2017, Scottsdale), UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s 2017 Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (NYC 2017), and at universities including MIT and UC Berkeley and Virginia Commonwealth.