Coming to PBS’s Independent Lens tonight, Monday, January 9:
Peter Galison and Robb Moss
Full Frame 2015
Sheffield, Zurich, Vancouver, Denver, RiverRun, Tallgrass, GlobeDocs, Global Peace, Woods Hole, SF Green
A sobering consideration of how humanity can safely contend with radioactive waste.
Taking a broad look, both practical and philosophical, and extending millennia into the future, Galison and Moss’ project attempts to reckon with the inescapable byproducts of nuclear energy and weapons and how to protect both present-day humanity and our descendants for ages to come from their toxicity. More immediate concerns are explored in three locations in the present: the Waste Isolation Plant in Carlsbad NM, whose 2014 closure led to the relocation of waste to the Savannah River Site in SC, and, of course, Japan’s Fukushima disaster site. While it would have been hard for the filmmakers to exclude the latter from their project, it’s been covered so extensively elsewhere that it feels like something of a retread compared to the WIPP story. Similarly, the film’s consideration of the various barriers we face in trying to convey warnings or markers of buried waste to humanity in the far future, while intriguing, has already been addressed in INTO ETERNITY. Still Galison and Moss’ use of graphics and animation to help envision this uncertain future brings a certain creative flair to the proceedings.