Nuclear Waste Dilemma

n 1954, the first nuclear power plant went into operation in the Soviet Union, but more than half a century later little has been done to confront the most serious problem with nuclear energy — what to do with the dangerous radioactive wastes produced by the plants. Finland is one of the only countries to take an active role in dealing with nuclear waste; in 1970, construction began on Onkalo, a containment facility for radioactive wastes dug out of solid rock miles beneath the ground. It’s believed that the facility will be able to safely hold tons of waste until it becomes safe again in 100,000 years, though it’s impossible to say for certain until that day finally comes. Filmmaker Michael Madsen (no relation to the actor of the same name) examines the long road to completing Onkalo and the many unanswered questions concerning nuclear power in the documentary Into Eternity, which serves both as a study of a technology fraught with possible danger and a letter to a future generation who may or may not have confronted the issues at hand.