Chada Elalami

Year 1 MArch

Radiation Atheneum & The Transient Estate

Dungeness Power Station, UK

“Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture”. This is only one of many messages requested to be evoked by a report on long-term nuclear waste warning messages1.

In laying out the dangers of nuclear power, one might think of nuclear war disasters – very few are aware of the hazards caused by unethical nuclear waste disposal methods. Ocean waste disposal practices in the past century, although now banned, will affect the environment in ways no measure can predict. While it is technologically challenging to eradicate radioactive traces from the ecosystem, it is crucial to attempt to locate sites of concentrated radiation and communicate it by using nuclear semiotics.

In Dungeness, the nuclear power stations are in their decommissioning phase. The project speculates on the repurposing of the power stations after they are decommissioned as a deep ground nuclear waste repository. It focuses on innovative semiotics methods that extend human timeline while predicting the importance of the augmented/virtual reality as a main hosting and visualization platform for the future generations.

The project involves a complex superposition of architectural programmes in an attempt to keep up with the extended radiation timeline. At t0, that is when the decommissioning is completed, a nuclear centre – meant to be transient – neighbours the repository. Left to decay, the architecture timeline reaches t1, more than 50 years later, when the skin of the building has collapsed, revealing a core under structure of stone markers. With an emphasis on stability and durability, the markers invite visitors to explore a nuclear museum in an augmented world. Therefore, at t1+, the future generations are presented with an array of spatial sequences recounting the complex nuclear history, from its genesis in the 20th century to its downfall.

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