Michael Madsen, Lise Lense-Møller | 2011 | 77 min.
2012 Official Selection
Award Winner: 2013 Best of Festival
The worlds nuclear power plants have generated an estimated 300,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste that must be safely stored for 100,000 years or more. Every year, they generate another 12,000 metric tons of high-level waste. Into Eternity is the first feature documentary to explore the mind-boggling scientific and philosophical questions long-term nuclear waste storage poses. Structured as a message to future generations, the film focuses on the Onkalo waste repository now under construction in Finland, one of the first underground storage facilities. Onkalo is a gigantic network of tunnels being carved out of bedrock that will start receiving Finlands nuclear waste in 2020. Once the repository is full, in about 100 years, it will be closed and hopefully remain sealed for at least 100,000 years. Into Eternity takes viewers deep into the Onkalo facility as it is being constructed and asks Onkalo representatives, scientists, theologians and others to address fundamental but challenging questions. How can our civilization know what the world will be like in 100,000 years? The first modern homo sapiens appeared about that long ago and no human structure has survived more than 5000 years. How can we anticipate climate and geologic changes that far in the future? What will life on our planet be like then? How do we warn distant generations of the deadly waste our civilization left behind? What languages or signs will they understand? How do we prevent them from thinking they have located the pyramids of our time or some other treasures? With its stark, stylistic approach, Into Eternity not only raises questions about the possibility of long-term nuclear waste storage, but also invites reflection on the limits of science and human knowledge, along with our responsibility to future generations.