Science/DGR Into Eternity directed by Michael Madsen


Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling

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Finnish film director Michael Madsen created in 2010 a docu-drama about the Finnish Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) so much in the news lately.  It's a long video lasting 111 minutes. Please take the time to view it. (see the second column for the link)

It's a dramatic documentary and it is factual.  It contains little technical data or themes.  It is a portrait of why and how.  It is the story of a nation coming to grips with the storage of high level waste.  It uses good effects in terms of darkness, light, the environment and music to make its dramatic points.

Madsen interviews a number of scientists who are key to the project and even a theologian. He covers the options that they reviewed like above ground storage, deep in the ocean disposal, rocket launch into space and other out of the box solutions, all of which were rejected.

The time scale of the solution is set at 100,000 years and the director tries to make that time real to the viewer by making us try to look back at 100,000 years in the past. 

It covers the tough decisions that the Finns went through to get to their final design.  It does not dwell on the social issues, but makes them come to life by the total darkness and matches slowly going out. 

The match light is a metaphor for our brief time on earth and the darkness is the 'mask' of eternity or rather the documentary's eternity, which is 100,000 years.

It spends a lot of time on future generations who may not be aware of the DGR and either stumble on it or look for it.  The scientists propose an underground set of signs for these people.  They make no assumption as to who they are and what technology they have.  Humans may have regressed and society has forgotten the languages of the present.  They want to protect against that.  The director makes that possible future drama come forth.

These time explorers have to have only one strong point and that is that they will have to do a tremendous amount of digging by some means either by hand or by machine.

Their partial solution for this is to set up 'road maps for the future'' in many languages and also using symbols.  They cannot guarantee that these future tomb robbers or archaeologists will be able to read their symbols or markers.  Unlike space probes that have markers that assume more intelligent beings reading them, the Finns want to take care of regressed humans.

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The director covers a lot of ground that is not technical at all, but human indeed.

The scientists state that they are secure with their decision on the DGR in terms of earthquakes, future ice ages and natural surface disasters.  They are strongest on those points and more tentative about a regressed human mind.

It's a good documentary that shows how serious the situation is with 250.000 metric tons of high level waste world-wide now stored above ground.

To view all 111 minutes of the documentary, CLICK HERE

For a good review of the documentary from the Guardian, CLICK HERE

Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw gives it four stars out of five.  It's a little slow paced and does not cover much on the social issues that they have encountered or will before final loading.

If you want to learn more about DGRs please go to the DGR page by CLICKING HERE

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Sunday, April 22, 2012