“THIS HIDING PLACE SHOULD NEVER BE DISTURBED”
Fukushima was not a natural disaster,
but a result of human error and mental meltdown!
The Fukushima disaster
is a result of human error – or
even worse – of conscious human negligence. Everybody
knew, that there would be earthquakes and tsunamis in the area,
and security measures had been taken – except not
adequate measures. The tsunami wall was too low. This is
a result of two major factors, which are in fact perhaps the
biggest risks in nuclear energy security:
The limitation in human imagination, and the inability
to foresee all possible threats and dangers.
Unwillingness to finance costly security measures, if you
can convince yourself and others, that cheaper solutions are adequate.
Was the disaster in Japan preceded by a kind of mental meltdown
in the political arena? Many incidents and ‘near
disasters’ have happened in nuclear facilities all over
Japan since the 1980‘s, but they have largely been kept secret
from the public. Such attitude can only be aimed at maintaining
a sense of security, but
is a false security and as such it prevents re-evaluation,
considerations, and improvements in security. Why
e.g. were warnings about the height of the tsunami wall at
Fukushima never acted upon? And is this kind of ‘culture of
secrecy’, that aims at making people feel confident about
nuclear energy without questioning security, limited to Japan?
The Richter scale for human error is open–ended.
“Into Eternity” deals with the inherently, unfathomable
years, which is how long the waste will remain
a threat to all life, and consequently how long the facility must remain
safe. This raises questions, that go beyond our previous human
experience, and which are seldom part of the debate. Nuclear energy
is often portrayed as the “morally correct” choice of
energy due to its lack of CO2 emissions, while long-term ethical and
existential implications are widely ignored, because our
considerations with regards to energy are based on a technological
conviction, that we can solve all problems: what we do not know
today, we will know tomorrow.
If we look at human history, the only constant seems to be that of
change. During the next 100 000 years our Civilization will cease
to exist, and
understanding of radiation, which our senses are
unable to detect, may disappear. For this reason,
– which means hiding place in Finnish – is built to
be able to operate without any human intervention, and the
preferred safety-strategy at the moment is to let the waste facility
sink into oblivion, hoping that it will never be rediscovered. If
so, ONKALO is not a technological challenge – although
building something destined to last 100 000 years has never been
attempted before – the real threat is human curiosity. How
do we prevent people from wondering what it is and entering the
facility? Who knows how future man will behave in 1 000; 10 000;
or 100 000 years?
we plan for things we are unable to imagine?
How do we warn future man? Will he understand our warnings,
and if so, will he respect them? Is it possible, that someone in
posterity will consider our repository a monument to a hitherto
unknown inhumanity? Are we at present committing a crime
against humanity in the future?
Michael Madsen, Director of ‘Into Eternity‘