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INTO ETERNITY Article BY Meaningful Movies H.S. Intern Vitus

by July 6, 2023 0

One of the biggest problems countries who rely on nuclear energy are facing is what to do with the highly toxic radioactive waste. Every day, large amounts of high-level radioactive waste created by nuclear power plants are placed in interim storage, which is vulnerable to natural disasters, man-made disasters, and societal changes. In Finland, the world’s first permanent repository is being hewn out of solid rock – a huge system of tunnels – that must last the entire period the waste remains hazardous, 100,000 years.

 

On Thursday, May 18th, the High School Meaningful Movies group, along with Meaningful Movies Tacoma, MM Gig Harbor, MM in Kirkland, MT Baker Meaningful Movies, West Seattle Meaningful Movies and Hanford Challenge explored how viewers can acknowledge from the underground bunker in Finland and how to store nuclear waste safely.

This film, directed by Michael Madsen, is a documentary about a deep geological repository for nuclear waste: Onkalo. It follows the construction of it at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Olkiluoto Finland, which started being built in 1970. It is designed to safely store its nuclear waste until it becomes safe – a process that takes 100,000 years. The film addresses an audience in the remote future, and questions the intended eternal existence of the nuclear waste site, one that must remain untouched for that long. Through interviews with leading Finnish scientists and researchers, director Michael Madsen explores the consequences of nuclear energy and human fallibility and addresses the challenges of nuclear waste disposal from the technical uncertainties to multi-generational impacts. 

This film explores the question of preparing the site so that it is not disturbed for 100,000 years, even though no structure in human history has stayed standing for such a long period. Many significant questions were being brought up during the film. Can we ensure that it will never be opened? How is it possible to warn our descendants of the deadly waste we left behind? How do we prevent them from thinking they have found the Giza pyramids of our time, mystical burial grounds, hidden treasures? Which languages and signs will they understand? And if they understand, will they respect our instructions? Experts in the film talked about how they strived to find solutions to this crucially important radioactive waste issue to secure mankind and all species on planet Earth now and in the near and very distant future.

After the film screening, our guest speakers Kevin Kamps, a Radioactive Waste Watchdog for Beyond Nuclear, and Miya Burke, the Program Manager of Hanford Challenge, had a great Q&A with our participants on how other places like Germany are dealing with nuclear waste and explained various questions on the field of nuclear power. They also expanded on the importance of dealing with nuclear waste, utilizing nuclear power.

For more information about nuclear power, feel free to visit the following links:

https://ieer.org/projects/carbon-free-nuclear-free/

 https://www.hanfordchallenge.org/downriver

https://www.energy.gov/cfo/articles/fy-2024-budget-justification

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2111833119

https://beyondnuclear.org/4643-2/

https://beyondnuclear.org/radioactive-waste/

https://news.stanford.edu/2022/05/30/small-modular-reactors-produce-high-levels-nuclear-waste/

 

This article was written by a member of the Meaningful Movies High School Group, Vitus.

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