Every day, the world over, large amounts of high-level radioactive waste created by nuclear power plants is placed in interim storage, vulnerable to natural disasters, man-made disasters, and to societal changes.
In Finland the world's first permanent repository is being hewn out of solid rock — a huge system of underground tunnels — that must remain secure for 100,000 years as this is how long the waste remains hazardous.
Once the waste has been deposited and the repository is full, the facility is to be sealed off and never opened again.
Or so we hope. But can we ensure that? And 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 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? While gigantic monster machines dig deeper and deeper into the dark, experts above ground strive 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.
Captivating, wondrous and extremely frightening, this feature documentary takes viewers on a journey never seen before into the underworld and into the future.
Michael Madsen, director, was born in 1971. He has directed several documentaries including the award-winning To Damascus – a Film on Interpretation (2005) and is a founder and artistic leader of the Sound/Gallery, a 900-square-meter sound diffusion system underneath the Town Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark.
His art projects include: Audience (van Gogh#7), design of SPOR 2007, a festival for new music and sound art; and Public Service (van Gogh#6) Phase 1: Idea and concept for a new music library in Odense, Denmark. In addition, Michael has been guest lecturer at The Royal Danish Academy of Art, The Danish Film School and The Danish School of Design.
His Own Words
"I am interested in the areas of documentary filmmaking where additional reality is created. By this I mean, that I do not think reality constitutes a fixed entity which accordingly can be documented — revealed — in this or that respect. Instead, I suspect reality to be dependent on and susceptible to the nature of it's interpretation.
"I am in other words interested in the potentials and requirements of how reality can be — and is — interpreted.
"The ONKALO project of creating the world's first final nuclear waste facility capable of lasting at least 100 000 years, transgresses both in construction and on a philosophical level all previous human endeavours. It represents something new. And as such I suspect it to be emblematic of our time — and it a strange way out of time, a unique vantagepoint for any documentary."