March 20, 2019

Discover Why ‘Power Struggle’ Continues…

Democracy prevails when a nuclear engineer turned whistle-blower, a 93-year old grandmother, and a scrappy new governor join forces with a dedicated array of citizen activists to accomplish a rare grassroots environmental victory in closing an aging nuclear reactor in Vermont.


Filmed over five years, this feature-length documentary chronicles the heated political battle to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, located on the banks of the Connecticut River in southern Vermont.

Power Struggle follows the unfolding drama as citizen activists and elected officials – alarmed at increasing safety violations – take on the federal government and one of the biggest nuclear power companies in America to call for closure of the reactor when its original 40-year license expires.

The film captures perspectives on all sides of the controversy, including from local residents both for and against nuclear power, elected officials (including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin), nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, a Vermont Yankee spokesperson, and federal nuclear regulators.



A timely, inspiring story of democracy in action; about whether citizens’ voices will be heard against big moneyed interests, and what people are doing locally right now to make a difference for a sustainable energy future.

Power Struggle is also a warning about the toxic legacy of high-level radioactive waste that will remain at every nuclear power plant around the world indefinitely into the future.

Watch Leppzer on The Thom Hartmann Program discussing his background and what inspired him to make the film:

“A genuine David vs. Goliath battle. A rich story of whether grassroots democracy, in the form of citizens and local government, can triumph over entrenched, powerful interests like the nuclear energy industry. Through a story with many twists and turns, Leppzer keeps the film’s focus on the individuals caught up in the drama.”

— Steve Pfarrer, Daily Hampshire Gazette

“These kinds of stories, so important to creating a more deeply democratic society, would often go untold without independent media. For more than four decades, filmmaker Robbie Leppzer has been an exemplar of that independence, combining a mastery of the craft of storytelling through documentary films with an incisive analysis of how power operates. Power Struggle is journalism at its best.”

— Robert Jensen, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin

Watch Power Struggle on Free Speech TV at the following times

  • Sunday, April 14 – 4:00 pm ET
  • Monday, April 15 – 3:00 am ET
  • Friday, April 19 – 3:00 am ET
  • Thursday, April 25 – 8:00 pm ET
  • More airdates to come – please check back!

In addition to these screenings, Free Speech TV will be hosting a series of conversations on Facebook Live with director Robbie Leppzer and activists featured in the film, as well as experts and thought leaders working at the intersection of nuclear energy, sustainability, and environmental justice. Stay tuned for more details about this conversation series, “Power Struggle Continues,” on Facebook Live.

Like Free Speech TV on Facebook to be the first to know when “Power Struggle Continues” conversations are scheduled.

Power Struggle is directed by Robbie Leppzer, an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and radio producer with Turning Tide Productions based in Wendell, Massachusetts, who has directed more than 30 documentaries over the past 40 years. His critically acclaimed feature-length and short documentaries, as well as commissioned television news magazine segments, about contemporary social issues, grassroots activism, and multicultural themes have been broadcast by CNN International, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, HBO/Cinemax, PBS, CNN, Sundance Channel, HDNet, Free Speech TV, Link TV, National Public Radio, and Pacifica Radio.

“I film stories of people who stick their necks out to take risks for grassroots social change and build bridges across cultures,” says Leppzer. “After eight years in the making, I feel very proud to be the storyteller for a national audience of this inspiring story of environmental activists not only making a huge difference, but actually winning! I hope Power Struggle will be a catalyst to inspire increased citizen awareness about aging nuclear plants and the long-term hazards of highly toxic radioactive waste, as well as about renewable energy alternatives, and enhanced citizen participation in our democracy.”

Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer is available to speak – in person or via an online video link – at schools or community screenings of Power Struggle. For more information, visit

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