The Simpsons and the Nuclear Energy

The Spanish Young Generation Network, Jóvenes Nucleares, commission of the Spanish Nuclear Society, has presented the documentary film “The Simpsons and the Nuclear Energy”.

This documentary, written and directed by Jose Luis Pérez, member of the Young Generation Network of the European Nuclear Society (YGN) and President of Jóvenes Nucleares (JJNN), presents a broad analysis of how the nuclear energy is shown in the longest-running and most awarded and successful animated series in the history of television: The Simpsons.

For the last twenty years, hundreds of millions of young people (and not so young) have daily watched how Homer Simpson, with a low IQ of 55 due to his hereditary "Simpson Gene”, his alcohol problem, repetitive cranial trauma, and a crayon lodged in the frontal lobe of his brain, performs his tasks in the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant: sleeping and snoring in front of a T-437 Safety Command Console. Homer, who has become the most popular and influential character in the series, is the Safety Inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, where, even though we can see luminous rats, the disposal of waste in a children's playground, plutonium used as a paperweight, cracked cooling towers (fixed in one episode using a piece of chewing gum), skeletons in the basement, the creation of a mutant subspecies of three-eyed fish and even a giant spider, no severe accident has ever occurred.

The Simpson’s main characters
The Simpson’s main characters

The main purpose of this documentary is to provide, in a comprehensive and hilarious way, the necessary tools to examine the way this animated series, a real pop-cultural phenomenon, presents the nuclear energy by means of satirical parody (a cawing crow is heard in every establishing shot of the power plant!).

The documentary shows the features of the main characters of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant the nuclear safety, radioprotection, security and the human resources modus operandi, and illustrates how Homer has little idea about how to do his job: in one episode he was replaced by a chicken pecking at the buttons, and in another, by a brick tied with a rope to a lever on Homer's control panel. Even if the safety of the plant—and Springfield—has been imperilled more than once on Homer's watch, he still keeps his job: he is the lowest-ranking person in the power plant organisation chart, subordinate to an inanimate carbon rod.

Springfield Nuclear Power Plant
Springfield Nuclear Power Plant

The main thesis of the documentary lies in the use of the Power Plant as an eye-catching framework for exaggerating the features of the stereotype represented by the series characters, who explore the issues faced by modern society. This is really the purpose and strongest point of the programme. This use, which always sacrifices technical correctness in favour of humour, has entailed a sustained presence of Nuclear Energy in television, in millions of homes, generating an unprecedented familiarization with this type of energy source.

The documentary has been very successful in Spain, where medias, including the main national radio station, TV and dozens of newspapers, have largely mentioned to it.

Due to the fact that the main purpose of Jóvenes Nucleares is to promote nuclear science and technology among young people, including young politicians, ecologists, journalists, etc, the documentary can be freely downloaded (in Spanish) from JJNN website ( or obtained by email from:

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