Nuclear Information Centre

A Present from the Future
NIC/GD/002 (with special thanks to the University of Gloucestershire archives).

Nic Pehkonen, A Present from the Future, 2022 [Table, chair (not shown), lamp, water-filled carafe with glass, archive box and clipboard with instructions].

If a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) is eventually built for the permanent containment of the UK’s high-level radioactive waste, records of the deposited waste packages will be kept in both national and international nuclear archives, according to Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), the government agency overseeing the current, ongoing GDF siting process. NWS published timelines suggest that a GDF could be filled and sealed in around 100 years at which point we would assume a full set of records will be archived. The current UK nuclear archive is in Wick in the far north of Scotland.

What will the future archived records look like, how long do we imagine they may last and who will have access to them for as long as the human species continues to exist?

Archives, in the form we are familiar with, are human constructs so it might seem reasonable to question their long-term relevance over the geological or non-human timescales required for the buried radioactive waste to reach safe levels. Then again, as humans, we can only physically take action in the present so perhaps we need not trouble ourselves with such deep-time questions and focus on those things that are within our limited control, understanding and experience.

In this exhibit you are transported to an imaginary future archive where the records you have requested to view are sitting in front of you within a ribbon-tied archive box like a gift-wrapped present from the future, albeit in a strangely familiar traditional archival format

Should you wish to do so, you are invited to sit and explore the contents of the box but additionally, you are also reminded of the need to fully comply with the NIC archive conditions of use before proceeding.

NIC Archive Instructions.

Information last updated: Sat 22 Sep 2023