Their long-term security has been and stays a subject of heated discussions, since nuclear waste can still be dangerous to the biosphere even in tens of thousands of years. How can unvoluntary trespassing into the security zones be prevented? Wars, diseases and disasters might lead to the loss of the knowledge about permanent repositories or radioactivity. Even generations in the far future have to be able to easily understand the warnings about our deadly legacy. In this conceptual approach, a variety of glass artifacts are scattered in the surrounding area of a permanent nuclear repository. They serve both as physical barrier and durable warning messages for generations to come.
Written warnings in multiple global languages are engraved into the glass body using a laser. Since the engravings are located deeply beneath the surface, they can not be rendered illegible by environmental influences. New engravings should be added in case prolonged development of the human languages makes that necessary.
The Trifoil radiation warning sign is prominent in the warning message, since it is common and standardized nowadays. More universal symbols complement the message. Nuclear accidents like the Goiânia incident have shown that the Trifoil itself might be too abstract for laymen, especially in development countries.
I chose durable glass as a potential material of the warning sign since it is extremely weatherproof and resistant against chemicals. Modern glass variants are well protected against scratching and corrosion. Found roman artifacts made from glass prove the logevity of this material.
Since it is barely machineable, it is almost impossible that the warnings signs might be reused as building material, which is a phenomenon observable in the surroundings of ancient ruins nowadays. Their size and weight prevent them from being moved through human power.
Above: An overgrown nuclear repository after a few decades of abandonment.
Below: Notes and ideas from the ideation phase. Inspiration was taken from existing concepts and symbols,
while their advantages and shortcomings were discussed.
This concept was developed over the course of two weeks during a workshop at HfK Bremen in 2016.