Into Eternity -- Onkolo: Remembering to Forget

<Feb. 2/12.>

I watched the film ‘Into Eternity’ recently. It’s about the high-level waste repository being built in northern Finland.

The director of the film (good conversation with him here & a great long interview with him here) views ‘Into Eternity’ as science fiction.

The premise is that the tale of the nuclear waste (which will remain dangerous for 100,000 years, according to the film, although I believe that the figure regarding the dangerosity of nuclear waste has been upped to 1 million years) is being directed at people of the future who might (wittingly or unwittingly) discover & disturb the site & need to be warned of its supreme dangerousness.

There are questions & answers back & forth with members of the nuclear industry who are in charge of creating Onkolo, to discuss how best to ensure the site is safely sequestered “into eternity.”

The film raises disturbing questions…issues…dilemmas, as the use of nuclear energy, with its inevitable attendant creation of shockingly long-lived & shockingly dangerous wastes, must inevitably do.

The people of “the future” (assuming human life does persist long-term or very long at all on our at-this-point-still-quite-wonderful planet) need to “stay away.”

As the filmmaker articulates, they will need to “remember to forget” that the place exists.


Well, we HBs (human beans) are pretty darn good at remembering to forget already, wouldn’t you say??

Most of us get up every morning, ready for the daily 9-5 grind, utterly forgetting to remember that all of our energy use (from the ancient fossil fuels created in the impossibly-distant past) has changed/continues to change the planet’s very climate – that the cars we drive (& the planes we fly in) are actually choking us. That our oceans are acidic & polluted & toxic.

We forget to remember because how else could we continue to eat the food that comes from toxic seas & radioactively (& chemically & every other way)-contaminated earth??

So don’t you worry, you who are building Onkolo (& whatever other repositories will inevitably be “needed”(1) to store the current preposterous global quantity of nuclear wastes awaiting storage & the wastes we are, as we speak, continuing to create, again with the energy usage we also daily remember to forget with our chronic, necessary, determined-not-to-notice-consequences mindset).

We not-really-so-very-very-grownup humans are EXPERTS at remembering to forget. Forgetting to remember. Whatever

Of course too, our DNA is literally being changed by exposure to all the radioactive materials we are constantly being exposed to in this unfortunately-quite-radioactively-contaminated world (& will increasingly be exposed to, what with ongoing “routine emissions” & Fukushima fallout, & as the nuclear industry moves ahead with its determined agenda to export – incinerate – “free-release” & bury the wastes created by its uniquely dangerous industry).

So who knows what we’ll look like – what kind of creatures we’ll be – all those years down the road…………hmmm?


p.s. Sites where you can learn plenty about nuclear matters, nuclear waste & nuclear activism:


p.p.s. This blog has a Nuke Resources page here, as well as many postings about nuclear matters – check the Index at the top & scroll through to find them. In particular you may be interested in the postings about a nuclear waste conference some colleagues & I attended last fall. These start here. A series of articles about Canada’s nuclear waste in one of Canada’s major newspapers – published 3 months after the conference – can be found here

p.p.p.s. While locating the links for this post, I came across a posting that is relevant to both nuclear matters & every single other thing that takes place on this planet! It’s sobering, it’s bracing; it’s here

Quote of the day with this post: “Nobody really knows how to clean up radiation.” Day labourer in Japan who is working on clean-upin village 20 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. (Lots of other nuke-related resources/quotes here)

(1) Deep underground burial (or deep underground dump, acronym DUD) is not necessarily the only way to deal with nuclear waste. Some folks I know favour above-ground monitored storage at the sites where it is created. Why? Stashing it away & forgetting about it is NOT what we need to be doing if we are in fact attempting to handle dangerous wastes in responsible fashion.