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Into Eternity 2 of 6 (What Happens to Nuclear Waste?)

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I think that more and more societies in countries who... are using nuclear power are realizing that they also have to do something. You obtain the energy, you have used the energy. Of course it's our mission to also take care of the waste. There is no way of doing nothing. This is something, which ought to be the responsibility of all citizens. Irrespectively, of whether they like nuclear power or not. Linking the issue of nuclear waste with nuclear power could easily divert attention from the materials which we have and must somehow handle in a responsible way. Not to harm future generations. THE PERMANENT SOLUTION Onkalo [Hiding Place], Finland, Northern Europe - Location: 61o14'06,54''N/ 21o28'55,39''E hasn't been implemented hasn't been implemented anywhere so far. We are a kind of a... forerunners in this field. And we are dealing with very very long time-frames, meaning that this repository should last at least 100.000 years. A hundred thousand years is beyond our understanding and imagination. Our history is so short in comparison. How is it with you? How far into the future will your way of life have consequences? That is what you really want to prove, that you can isolate your waste from human beings and other, other, other life organisms for a 100.000 years. We have come to a conclusion that the bedrock, the Finnish bedrock -1,8 billion years old- is the medium that we can predict far to the future. At least 100.000 years ahead. Very important fact, a fact for us, is that the repository is self-contained. We shouldn't have to guard it in the future. It should just be able to, to be left. And that's a necessity, because the conditions on the ground will change. The conditions down in the rock will be stable. And won't change. But on the surface, you never know what's gonna happen. It could be wars. It could be an economic depression. At surface the clock runs very fast, while in the rocks it goes very very slowly. We have the most stable environment we know of. Corporate presentation Olkiluoto in Eurajoki has been chosen as the site of the disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel. Onkalo. Where are you now? On the plan. Should be here somewhere. Then we start widen this area. More and more and more a bigger area comes. Like in a big cave or? Yeah... An unimaginable big cave. It's like a big city underground. The repository acts like a cocoon, if you like or a Russian doll, where you have barriers, which complement each other, so that if one barrier might fail, so other barriers still are able to mitigate all the consequences. The final disposal facilitiy will be constructed in stages and decommissioned in the 2100s. When the entire tunnel is ready, a thick concrete closure is cast at the tunnel mouth. We could fill the chambers of Onkalo, with the nuclear waste from Finland, from just one little country in the north, After one century we would seal Onkalo for all eternity. Just like the tombs of the Pharaohs and the pyramids were sealed thousands of years ago, never to be opened again. The safety of disposal shall not be dependent on any active management on active surveillance or or any acts of human being to be safe. So it has to be a fully passive. The repository will be closed down. Will be backfilled. The idea of this backfilling is to return to conditions pretty much to those which prevailed before we excavated the tunnel. There will be forests, there will be houses, hopefully, there will still be people, people living. Not perhaps exactly the same persons that were there from the beginning, but perhaps their children and grandchildren. Who will still live and will use the land. We always bring up the question of the ice-age as some, some kind of a very dramatic change in a situation. Of course it will have an impact. But if you look at our assumptions, the scenarios, it will happen within 60.000 years from now. So everything disappears disappears from here when the ice comes. Everything is frozen, the vegetation will die and then this will be not like a tundra. Will it be forgotten during an ice-age? Yes, I think it would be forgotten in such a case. If you were a person who were evaluating this concept from the outside, what would you be afraid of? [Deep sigh] Nothing. Once upon a time, man learned to master fire. Something no other living creature had done before him. Man conquered the entire world. One day he found a new fire. A fire so powerful, that it could never be extinguished. Man raveled in the thought, that he now possessed the powers of the universe. Then in horror, he realized that his new fire could not only create, but also destroy. Not only could it burn on land, but inside all living creatures. Inside his children, the animals, all crops. Man looked around for help, but found none. And so, he built a burial chamber. Deep, in the bowels of the earth. A hiding place for the fire to burn. Into eternity. You are now in the tunnel. This place is not a place of honor. No esteemed deeds are commemorated here. You should not have come here. If you're heading towards the place, where you should never go, what is there is dangerous and repulsive. A danger will still be present in your times as it is in ours. Please, turn around and never come back. There is nothing here for you. Go no further. My personal belief is that no human intrusion will take place at any time scale ever. HUMAN INTRUSION

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: Denmark
Language: English
Producer: Magic Hour Films in coproduction with Mouka Filmi, Atmo, Film I Vaest
Director: Michael Madsen
Views: 3,549
Posted by: tinaki on May 16, 2011

A documentary film on nuclear waste produced/ directed with the support of the Danish Film Institute, Eurimaces, Finnish Film Foundation, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Swedish Film Institute, Avek. It's about what happens to everyday nuclear waste, the kind that comes from fueling nuclear power plants. Enter Onkalo, a nuclear waste vault being blasted out of solid bedrock in remote Finland. Once finished, filled and sealed, it's supposed to keep radioactive refuse removed from the environment for 100,000 years. But what happens if a curious archaeologist stumbles upon our 'pyramid' at its half time or before?

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