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, May 26 – 3:00 pm ET
  • Thursday, May 30 – 8:30 pm ET
  • Friday, May 31 – 3:00 am ET
  • Saturday, June 1 – 10:00 am ET
  • Sunday, June 2 – 3:00 pm ET
  • Wednesday, June 5 – 3:00 pm ET
  • Saturday, June 8 – 2:00 am ET
  • More airdates to come – stay tuned!

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. Learn more about each episode in the series and RSVP on Facebook below:

Power Struggle Continues: Nuclear Waste (Episode 1) – May 1 at 2 pm ET/11 am PT

Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer examines the long-term public health hazards from high-level radioactive waste generated from nuclear power plants, and specific proposals to site nuclear waste dumps in Latino and Indigenous communities in New Mexico, Texas and Nevada. Program guests include Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear, Ian Zabarte, Principal Man of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation of Indians in Nevada, and Rose Gardner, cofounder of Alliance For Environmental Strategies, based in New Mexico and Texas.

Watch Episode 1 below:

Power Struggle Continues: Economics of Nuclear Energy (Episode 2) – May 8 at 2 pm ET/11 am PT

Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer examines the economics of nuclear power and the prospects for renewable energy alternatives, how nuclear power is viewed within the climate justice movement, and how nuclear energy issues are covered in the mainstream media. Program guests include Harvey Wasserman, author of Solartopia!, Tim Judson, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Libbe HaLevy, producer and host of the weekly podcast Nuclear Hotseat.

Watch Episode 2 below:


Power Struggle Continues: Nuclear Safety (Episode 3) – May 15 at 2 pm ET/11 am PT

Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer examines current safety issues regarding nuclear power plants across the United States, particularly the 21 operating Mark One reactors that have the same design flaws as the Fukushima reactors that melted down in Japan, along with a look at the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima itself. Program guests include nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen and Maggie Gundersen, President of Fairewinds Energy Education (both are featured in the documentary Power Struggle). Watch Episode 3 here.

Power Struggle Continues: Indigenous Impact (Episode 4) – May 22 at 2 pm ET/11 am PT

Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer examines the public health consequences of uranium mining and proposed nuclear waste dumps on Indigenous communities. Program guests include Leona Morgan (Diné or Navajo), an activist opposing uranium mining and proposed nuclear waste dumps in New Mexico, and Charmaine White Face (Lakota), who is fighting to clean up abandoned open-pit uranium mines in South Dakota. Watch Episode 4 here.

All Facebook Live conversations in the “Power Struggle Continues” series will be hosted on Free Speech TV’s Facebook page at Be sure to “Like” Free Speech TV on Facebook to be alerted as soon as we go live!

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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