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Half-Life: A Deep Geological Repository For Nuclear Waste

Part 2 Project 2012
Liam Croft
James Perry
University of Liverpool | UK
This place is not a place of honour.
Nothing valued is here.
This place is a message, and part of a system of messages.
Pay attention to it!

On Seatallan mountain, 6km from Sellafield where 70% of the UKs high level radioactive waste is stored, the proposal has four main components:
• A Masterplan to deliver waste from Sellafield to the proposed repository.
• A Deep Geological Repository for the permanent storage of nuclear waste, including scientific and engineering facilities.
• A Public Interpretation Centre to inform people about the burial process.
• A Marker System to warn future generations of the dangers of this place.

Inhabiting an excavated ravine near the mountain summit, the facility derives its form from the need for a long, level area where waste can be transferred from rail to vessels taking it underground for burial. Scientific and engineering facilities form a relatively temporary intervention, adhering to a structural concept called Half-Life, constructing in time-based layers. As these facilities are only necessary during the burial phase, they are designed to be dismantled and recycled in time.

Addressing the real concerns of local people about the long term security of such a facility, a public interpretation centre and future site marker sit alongside the waste facility to provide a transparency to the process. Some waste remains dangerous for over 20,000 years; therefore the message carried by the interpretation centre must transcend language, cultural and temporal barriers. A spatial narrative is created; a promenade architectural formed of light, shadow, heat, sound and material. Adhering to both present requirements and those of a future marker system, the visitor experience passes through this series of interconnected phenomenological spaces. Partially hewn from the rock, and of little intrinsic value, this architecture must stand the test of time.

Of paramount importance in the design process was the consideration of people, their interface with this often controversial industry, and their long term connection with this site of great importance. The scheme proposes a socially and environmentally sustainable solution to a real brief, a problem that exists and must be dealt with.

Liam Croft
James Perry

Prof Robert Kronenburg
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