Design for a Nuclear Power Station


2011
Diverse materials
116 x 112 x 112 cm

Design for a Nuclear Power Station 13
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 12
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 11
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 10
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 9
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 8
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 7
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 6
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 4
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 3
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 2
Design for a Nuclear Power Station 1

Click image to enlarge.

Design for a Nuclear Power Station

One of the exciting, almost mystical features of nuclear power is the gigantic size of the power plants. It serves the modernist idea of big industry fed by a single form of energy. The miniature model depicts an architectural and industrial dream: a titanic power plant – yet in a collapsed, post-apocalyptic state. Based on news imagery from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant, it also shows the heartbreakingly tiny scale of the rescue efforts, such as fire trucks, that look disproportionately small when compared with the nuclear kiln they are trying to cool down.
The unapproachable epicenter of radiation could not be comprehended through close-up photographs and footage, but aerial views spread the news and dimension of the catastrophe to the world. The god-like viewpoint leads one’s thoughts away from the long-term impact of this and other events to come.
Was this scenario planned for in the original models of the architects and engineers who designed the Fukushima Daiichi power plant? In the aftermath of the events, the causality of what happened seems crystal-clear and could not lead to a different result. A monster is being created again and again, in Finland as well as in other parts of the world, where countries invest their money and future in nuclear power. The aesthetic appeal of a single gigantic solution at any cost seems to be irresistible for the human mind.

When the long term costs of dealing with nuclear waste and demolishing old power plants are included, the price of nuclear power exceeds that of any other form of energy. However, the total price of nuclear power will only be found out by generations to come.
The coastal area around Fukushima was the breadbasket of Japan and the busiest fishing area in the country. The future generations in Fukushima and Japanese metropolitan areas will see the eventual costs for society, including effects on food production and the health of individuals. Yet Japan is the last country that needs nuclear power. There are possibilities to use the energy of the waves, the sun, the wind, geothermal heat, biomass, algae, fuel, etc., as well as the technical expertise to combine all of these into a reliable, sustainable power network.
Even after the series of catastrophes in Japan, Finland was not discouraged from building Olkiluoto 3, the largest nuclear power station in the world and the fifth nuclear reactor in the country. The building costs of this project have already exceeded fives time the estimate – even though the façade is not yet finished.