Project description

Humans in Scotland and across the UK are increasingly being called to acknowledge ourselves as true critical zone actants, and participators in the Earth’s deep time cycle. We have, and continue to co-evolve alongside our fellow earthly inhabitants, and are part of sprawling “creaturely entanglements” that have led to where we are now.[1] Yet, human societies are ever-more detached from the expanses of their own technological agency, insofar as to erase it from public geographic imagination.[2] An informed forgetting is part of concerning colonial, extractivist, and resourcist land-related cultures which characterise the Global North.

Nuclear Legacies brings into perspective the vast scales of uranium extraction, processing, and nuclear waste disposal within our society. It comes as nuclear power stations have progressively forced us to consider ethically the longevity of our wastes, and the seriousness of what we impose on our shared environment. Looking at Hunterston Nuclear Power Station in Ayrshire, we can reckon with decommissioning processes and the complexities of nuclear waste disposal with no existing permanent or long-term solution. Nuclear Legacies contextualises a view which favours disposing of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel in a geological disposal facility (GDF). Human-led nuclear legacies are preserved in a spatial system that communicates both confession and warning of the site’s radioactivity. Spent nuclear fuel is buried 1km in the Earth’s surface, underneath the existing station. The future is embodied through human and more-than-human protagonists, as is its condition against global environmental change in relation to nuclear half-lives. Nuclear Legacies is a critical, provocative and artistic response to what we leave behind.

[1] Franklin Ginn, Michelle Bastian, David Farrier, Jeremy Kidwell, “Introduction: Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time”, Environmental Humanities 10:1 (May 2018) 214.

[2] Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, DESIGN EARTH, Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment (3rd eds.)  (New  York, Barcelona: Actar Publishers, 2022), 12.

Deep section revealing the geological stratification below Hunterston station.
Hunterston Power Station This section outlines the depths of geological formations, members and lithology of the critical zone in relation to our project’s power station.
Area overview
Regional map foregrounding the Hunterston Nuclear Power Station along the Great Cumbrae Fault (GCF), intersection with the Highland Boundary Fault (HBF), and relevant Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Detailed view of project proposal.
Hunterston as Marker Hunterston is imagined as a space comprising GDF and surface-level groundworks in a system of radioactive “marker”. This is to directly consider the ethical implications of burying waste underground.
Detailed view of project proposal.
The “marker” has a confessing tone – bringing forward existing geometries of the station itself, and taking forward its existing conditions as the primary communicator of its true nature to the distant and post-human future.
Image of a conceptual and scale model of the project's proposal.
Concept Model 03 Hunterston as Marker embodied physically via mixed plaster, steel, aluminium, hessian, and wood. The surface-level designed marker is viewed in relation to its geological disposal facility (GDF).Top, surface-level marker scale 1:2500.
Model details.
Progress and details of modelled geological disposal facility.
Model Sketch
Embodying the project proposal
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