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57 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Impossible - many times over

Author: childoferna (childoferna@gmail.com) from Tulsa, OK
7 October 2004

This movie is a real stinker. I studied nuclear engineering in college and if they would have had me on the set I would have slapped the writer of this screenplay. Some of the major problems as I remember them:

The plant seems to have been built in the last few years, with a new computerized control room and satellite phones and all this silliness - no new nuclear plant has been built in the U.S. in 25 years (sadly).

A tornado would do absolutely no damage to a nuclear power plant, or at least no damage to any of the critical components. The critical components of a nuclear power plant (the core itself, coolant pumps, the primary coolant loop (in a PWR), backup generators) are located inside a containment dome that is METERS thick - even an F5 wouldn't touch them - in fact, the people inside would have no idea they had been hit.

The control room and the important components of the plant are run on the power the plant produces and in the event of a shutdown by backup diesel generators. The backups have backups which have backups. The possibility of a strong enough tornado hitting the backup gens and knocking them out is nil.

The plant did not shut down as it would have done automatically. Whenever a nuclear power plant is damaged in any way the computer shuts it down with absolutely no operator input required in a matter of seconds. In the movie the lines that took power from the plant to homes were knocked down - this would have resulted in a load rejection to the generators which would have "tripped" (automatically shutdown) the turbines and the reactor. There is never any need to communicate with the NRC while running a reactor and the NRC has no remote control room. They don't control reactors at all - the companies that own them control them. The NRC licenses and inspects for safety.

At the end of the movie the spent fuel pool is being uncovered and the firefighters have to pump water into it to save the town. Bull. Spent fuel just isn't hot enough to continually boil away water. And the pumps that cool the reactor also cool the pool (in most cases). In any case, the spent fuel pool and it's entire cooling apparatus are INSIDE the enormous containment dome and could never have been damaged by a twister - much less have had a gaggle of firefighters standing over it with a door to the outside just a few yards away.

IF the pool would have gotten as close as it did to being uncovered (I believe a few inches) the firefighters would have received a lethal dose of radiation from the spent fuel because there would not be enough of a water barrier to stop the gamma rays produced by decaying Uranium and other "nuclear ash".

Running a nuclear reactor with four people is impossible. Period. Reactors don't run on "skeleton crews".

Things like electric cooling pumps just can't be turned off willy-nilly. No reactors use diesel cooling pumps as their primary system.

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19 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Totally unbelievable!

1/10
Author: Glenn-47
10 June 2002

Where to start with this movie! Are we to believe that a Nuclear power plant operates with just 4 people? Are we to believe the sheriff (Corbin Bernson) is psychic? This movie was so predictable as to be laughable! It's amazing how a diesel generator that no one knew about and hadn't been used in 15 plus years could magically be hooked back up with the push of a button and of course it wouldn't start until the heroine yelled at it! Not to mention that tornado's magically appear and chase the main characters all the time! To compare this movie in anyway to Twister is totally ridiculous!! This is not even a bad imitation of a bad imitation!

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

The Keystone Cops run a nuclear reactor!

Author: timp-2 from Baltimore, MD
9 June 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well... I was bored and decided to watch this, despite knowing what Ted Turner's network would produce, anti-nuke propaganda. I wasn't disappointed. This is anti-nuke from the start... even worse than the horrific "China Syndrome."

If you turn off your logic sensors, this was mildly entertaining and suspenseful. However, having worked with many nuclear engineers (from my Navy days), this was so full of mistakes and sheer folly as to be laughable... and this list isn't anywhere near complete (may contain spoilers, such as they are):

- The crew running the reactor looks like they couldn't manage an auto body shop!

- Emergency shutdown procedures are non-existent. The crew keeps having to think 'what do we do now'... that despite drills and procedures that would have been routine to the operators.

- They can't seem to do anything without 'calling the NRC'!

- Emergency comms to the outside world depend on a Dish network style dish that blows off during the first tornado. No redundancy exists, no backup radios, nada... the wind blows, the plant loses comms.

- A one-man security force... uh huh.

- When the emergency started, they didn't call in the staff from the off-duty shifts... no recall procedures were apparently in place. Nobody has a checklist, which are rampant in the world of nuclear power. Everything regarding the reactor has a procedure!

- Sharon Lawrence can't keep the staff from doing things like turning off the emergency pumps.

- Speaking of which... what is her qualification for the job? Most nuke engineers are Navy trained... and the VAST majority are men (submarine crews are all male, the only nuke reactors in the surface Navy are on carriers). Not sexist, just fact. They never explain how she walked into being the shift supervisor. Then, she decides to cut and run from the plant during a potential meltdown to hunt for her son - but is stopped by her boss. Some leader!

- Her coworker is worse than her! He admits that he "cracks under pressure" - a quote. Who in their right mind would have him anywhere near what is arguably one of the most stressful jobs in existence?

- The previously 'unknown' diesel generator that just happens to be sitting 'out back' of the power station... if only they can make it work(!).

- Pipes start popping bolts and pipes cracking at the first sign of trouble. Nuclear piping systems are built to extreme standards and are xrayed, etc., and checked regularly... yet they popped at the first sign of increased pressure and temperature.

- A nuclear power plant is one of the most solidly built structures in the world... it wouldn't be phased if hit by an airliner, much less by a twister!

- The emergency generators aren't sitting outside where they can be damaged by falling power lines and wind!!

- The folks manning the control room would not abandon their station and go traipsing into the containment room to manually shutdown the reactor.

Well, I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. I must have been bored, since I managed to watch an entire movie that I rate at one-half a star, at best!

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Lighten up everyone - its a comedy!

3/10
Author: Sarah-60 from United Kingdom
9 August 2004

I knew when I saw the description in the TV guide that this was a winner, then I forgot it was on. Luckily my friend sent me a text to say "This is SO 'so bad its good', I may pee"

What higher praise can there be!

This movie was nearly as funny as Speed 2 (we were nearly thrown out of the cinema for that one - did no-one else know it was a comedy?)

All that was missing here was George Kennedy. Although it did have Carl Lewis!!

and did anyone else pick up on the irony/symbolism of the kids playing 'Twister'? Fantastic.

Get in some pizza and plenty of alcohol, you won't have a better evening's entertainment!!

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining

Author: Ross Kline from Columbia, SC
17 February 2004

Well, the total loss of technical accuracy does make this movie impossible to take seriously. Those of us in the industry, though, regard this as an outstanding comedy! We laugh, we cry, we sob, we roll on the floor!

Please, release this on video!! There are days I could use the laugh!

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

This is so Awful its funny.

1/10
Author: Wolf (alphaspace) from Baltimore, Maryland
28 May 2006

I can't imagine how this film got the green light under any circumstances. One the plot is so bad I could not make it worse if I tried. Its about a nuclear power plant in a southern locale that gets close to a meltdown because of or in tandem with Tornados.

The thing that makes this movie so bad is it looks as if the nuclear power plant shots were filmed in someones basement. The pipes supposedly carrying radioactive water are way too small. The control room for the power plant look like the family room with a few more computers than normal. The pipes carrying water steam eto this reactor are way to small to fill be part of any reactor system. The door leading to the containment building is laughably small and thin.

If you know anything at all about atomic power this film is hilarious for all the just couldn't happen stuff you see going on in this movie. The movie is stupid. I can not imagine why anyone would want to buy it which is why I suspect AMAZON>COM don't even carry it and you can buy almost any DVD or VHS from them..

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Fantastically BAD! I laughed hysterically...

2/10
Author: dtm-6 from United States
21 July 2005

I loved it! A must see for for movie critics. This movie has the worst script I have ever seen combined with terrible direction.

Everyone's comments about the fallacies are so true. The poor dialog in the middle of crisis situations made me laugh so hard.

Many postings don't reflect that this is not a nuclear disaster movie. It is both a story of young love and the dedication of a single mother to her son (who is in the local town) that making sure he is safe is worth postponing the prevention of a nuclear meltdown.

I could write 50 paragraphs of what, just I, noticed wrong in this masterpiece. But that would be a spoiler.

Any viewer that is stupid should not watch this movie as it is so scary. People with half a brain will think it is dumb. The discrening movie watcher will learn quickly that the absurdities of a movie that was meant to be....gee did the producer really think this was an exciting disaster movie with twists and turns...that the absurdities are hilarious.

I loved it!

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

WHAT AN AWESOME MOVIE!!!!!!!

Author: Chris Winston from Fairbanks, U.S. Territory of Alaska
19 February 2004

Awesome movie? Just kidding. Was this the worst? No. Was it the best? HAHAHAHAHA... very, VERY far from it. Ever since I first saw a commercial for this movie I had that feeling - Uh oh, here we go again. You know what, though? Yes, it is true, sometimes what you think beforehand can be totally wrong. Sometimes a movie can fool ya. Uhhh, this one didn't. I actually did kind of like it... a little, I mean compared to eating a fresh, steaming pile of horse manure, this wasn't too bad. I thought Sharon Lawrence wasn't too bad, either, and I don't mean just in the looks department. What's his name, Zack, from Saved By The Bell, he was, well... well, he was completely in his element being the star of a show for young teens but with this it seems he's struggling to find his place as a leading actor. Not his fault totally, it's the fault of whoever casts him in a role he can't fill so well. Corbin Bernsen - wow, what happened to him since L.A. Law and Major League? He's good in this & that but that's all it seems he does is this & that roles. How long was he onset for this, one day of work? Probably the best part of this movie, though it was a way small part, was the kid who played Sharon Lawrence's son. Pretty funny, the only true laughs in this movie. The rest of the time there were no laughs, there was no humor nor was there meant to be... this was a disaster thriller that failed in thrilling. Is there one Made-for-TV disaster thriller that has you on the edge of your seat, that leaves you thinking - Wow, What a Great Movie??? No and that's why from the 1st commercial I ever saw for Atomic Twister I couldn't believe it would be very good. I was right. My grade: D-

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Mind-numbingly awful.

1/10
Author: Tristan da Cunha (zagato@space.com) from London
11 June 2002

I have often heard the theory that a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters might, in a thousand years, end up creating the Complete Works of Shakespeare. If true, then 'Atomic Twister' must surely be the end-product of twenty monkeys given a bad screenplay, a small budget and a film set for twenty hours. The only saving grace of viewing this film was the relief offered by the commercial breaks.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Really unintentionally funny

Author: (hecubus43@hotmail.com) from Racine, Wisconsin
9 June 2002

Atomic Twister is a film about tornadoes threatening a nuclear power plant written by someone who has apparently no knowledge of tornadoes or nuclear power plants. I'm not going into the plot here, because it's pretty simple, rather, let's take a look at what the writer messed up. First of all, I was not aware that, in Tennessee, they had "stealth" tornados. At one point, a character makes a call on his cell phone, then turns around to see a tornado about 50 yards away, bearing down on him. In reality, of course, tornados are so loud that one can be heard at least a mile away, if not more. Also, the impending tornadoes are always signaled by high winds whipping around the characters. The writer must have gotten tornadoes mixed up with hurricanes. The fact of the matter is that the air can be quite calm before a tornado strikes.

As for the nuclear power plant, the writer again drops the ball. The characters keep talking as though a meltdown will cause the plant to explode like an atom bomb. That is a total impossibility. The plant may suffer a meltdown and release large amounts of radiation, but it CANNOT explode!!!

All I can say is, watch Atomic Twister is you want a good laugh. Otherwise, stay clear.

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