2022 - 59,4 x 41,9 cm - India ink on paper
Nuclear power plants right now are the number one solution to reach the climate goals set for 2030. With a nuclear power plant, a great deal of the CO₂ emission can be reduced. Yet, nuclear power plants also are my number one nightmare. In fact, I really do have nightmares about them. Because if a disaster occurs, it has horrible consequences as we have learnt from history.
In this piece, I focused on the politics revolving around climate goals. Above ground we see a mighty nuclear power plant in operation, bathing in friendly sunlight. In this drawing, the politics have taken the shape of an ostrich, which is standing in the foreground. She buries her head in the sand, like ostriches usually do, because she does not want to face the short- and long term risks that nuclear power plants carry with them. However, if she buries her head, she will see the nuclear waste she has hidden away there. This time she can't escape reality. On the left barrel is a mutated mouse with two heads. The plants on the right are rooted in the ground just above another barrel, causing them to wither. The ostrich is visibly shocked as soon as she sees the consequences.
Nuclear power plants to me feel like putting a band aid on an open bone fracture. The open bone fracture is climate change. The nuclear power plant solves the numerical problem: it is the most profitable solution in the long run and it reduces CO₂ values. In this way, we have done our ‘climate homework’. However, it creates a new problem: waste. Not just any waste, waste that we don’t even know what to do with, that is so toxic that if you’d be standing next to it, you’d be fatally ill within a week. Waste that we stow away far underground, because what we no longer see, also is no longer there. But just imagine, the metal of the barrel eroding over time, bedrock that slowly moves because of tectonics, concrete shields being poured around the barrels that over time become porous, through which our water will slowly seep. We do not solve the problem in this way, but push it forward to future generations.
I hope we don’t wait to be shocked by the consequences, like the ostrich. I hope that we will take our heads out of the sand and together start thinking on a realistic solution for a sustainable future for people and nature. (Maybe then I can sleep well again ;) )
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