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Nuclear semiotics

Language of signs for the future

Posted by Jeena

This post will be about the future,

High-level nuclear waste is the inevitable end result of nuclear energy production. The waste will remain radioactive and/or radiotoxic for at least 100 000 years.

It is difficult for human beings to understand time spans beyond a few generations, let alone thousands of years. To put time into perspective, we need milestones: The human species as we know it today is believed to have existed for approx. 100 000 years. The oldest cave paintings, known today, are approx. 30 000 years old, the pyramids approx. 4 500 years old, the Birth of Christ, 2010 years ago, the detection of radiation approx. 115 years ago.

We will be around here for ca. 100 years to tell our children and grand children about the dangers of the places, I wonder how our language will change. When we look at the 4 500 years old hieroglyphs in pyramids, do we understand them properly? And by "we" I obviously mean our specialists in that field.

How would we design warning signs which people in 10 000 years could interpret properly and not think that there is a treasure buried which only waits for them to get and finally get rich or healthy.

What would you think if you would see a sign like this and wouldn't know what it means because media or your parent told you?

Nuclear waste, dead man

  1. If you're a farmer and go there and then go back to your plants, they will grow much faster.
  2. If you have problems to sleep, you will be healed from it by going there.
  3. It is dangerous to go there, you will die.
  4. First you are a child, then you grow up and when you're old you die.

There are plenty other propositions how to fix this problems, change genetic code of cats and dogs so they begin to glow when near nuclear waste, fields of really big spikes, obelisks, or just nothing to not attract future archeologists.

Isn't it strange that we use 438 (and there are 61 under construction) nuclear reactors, each of them produces 30 tons of nuclear waste per year. There is 10 000 tons of new nuclear waste every year since 1954. We now have about 560 000 tons of nuclear waste on the earth and don't know what to do with it.

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