BACKGROUND It takes 24110 years for spent nuclear fuel to reach its half-life. The United States is planning to bury 70,000 tons of nuclear waste from this clean energy source at a remote site in Nevada called Yucca Mountain.
24110 is an alternative proposal for a combined nuclear waste dump and memorial. The primary goal of this proposal is to make a strong statement about the shortsightedness of our society and our world's policy makers.
The 24110 repository expresses the following insights to visitors:
1- Express time. Everyone can relate to time. In the case of plutonium, time takes on an unimaginable scale. The time we make use of plutonium compared to the time it takes for it to decay is a severe imbalance. The memorial should be a clock.
2- Express volatility. In the context of this massive scale of time, the materials we usually regard as permanent and impenetrable are immediately humbled. The memorial should be a contrast of strength and fragility.
3- Expose the source. Expressions of volatility over time make one wonder how we got into this situation in the first place. The memorial should specifically highlight those policy-makers, industry leaders, and scientists who wrote this chapter of history.
4- Admit our fatuity. The first step towards changing our ways is to acknowledge the absurdity of our actions. The memorial should express our mistake in a bold, simple, and not-so-subtle way.
LOCATION Most nuclear waste is swept away to parts of the earth that are either uninhabited (by humans) or inhabited by people who don't have the political power or resources to prevent the nuclear waste from ending up in their communities. For this reason, it is important that this memorial be situated in a high profile location. Washington D.C. is a clear choice because of its close proximity to important policy makers including the President, Congress, the Senate, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy. Washington D.C. is also home to many of the nation's most important memorials. The 24110 Plutonium Memorial is no less important and will remain long after the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Thomas Jefferson Memorial have dissolved into time.
Plutonium Casks- layered cast iron and stainless steel. 500 ton capacity. Capillary Layer- coarse gravel surrounded by ground volcanic tuff. Liner- 20 ft thick concrete tub lined with stainless steel. Clock Totems- 241 total. The clock totems are placed around the repository's walking path, giving visitors a deep understanding of the amount of time it takes for the waste material to decay. One clock totem is to be bolted down to the ground at the end of each century. Since the repository should be the most long-lasting man-made construction in history, it can also serve as a way for man to mark the passing of time. Each clock totem is clearly marked with the year it is to be bolted down as well as the percentage of plutonium half life that has passed. History Wall- Images of nuclear industry leaders, policy makers and scientists are embossed into concrete structure.
Design: Mike and Maaike www.mikeandmaaike.com
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