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This is a conversation between Helen Caldicott and Michael Madsen whose film, Into Eternity, premiered in the US in February 2011. Into Eternity is a documentary about the building of the world's first permanent repository for nuclear waste in Finland. It shows not only the construction under way that will take 140 years, but introduces the people involved, the scientists, regulators and corporate executives who oversee this project. None of them will be alive when Onkalo, as the repository is called, will be finished in 2120; and they must expect this repository to remain intact and untouched by future humans for at least 100,000 years. Such is the danger and longevity of waste from nuclear power plants.

Helen called Madsen "One of the more extraordinary people I've ever interviewed". This is a thought provoking exchange between the veteran campaigner, Helen Caldicott, who dedicated her life to alerting us to the nuclear danger, and the young Danish artist. He introduces thoughts about civilization, language, danger and eternity.

In their conversation they say they question how anybody can even contemplate a human made repository that will last 100,000 years and possibly continue without human maintenance. Does this means that the builders do not expect for civilization to last? Or do we have to create an archive of knowledge about the danger of radiation that needs to be maintained? And who maintains that archive?

As mind-bending such a project as Onkalo is, we need several hundred more repositories like Onkalo since most of the waste of the world’s nuclear power plants is sitting next to these plants in the open. Is it fair to future generations to impose such a burden on them?
Helen Caldicott

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00:29:30 English 2011-07-19
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