Monday, June 4, 2012

Nuclear Power and Printed Lanterns

Greetings again! The past few months have been busy with projects going out into the world. At the moment there is now some down time and i have started a few new projects. Such as the pic above. These are fashioned after Japanese candle lit lanterns. The scenes are from photos of Kiyomizu-dera and Ryoanji temples in Kyoto. The grounds there are amazing and very contemplative.

So why the title for this post this time? I have been interested in and fearful of nuclear power and weapons since the days of Ronald Reagan. How he did not manage to get us into some nuclear disaster is beyond my imagination. But I will move on. After the disaster in Fukushima last year my interest was rekindled. For some time I have been trying to figure out how to fit it into the art work. These lanterns were intended as a short term project but the notion to fit in my disdain with nuclear power just fell into place. Inside each of these lanterns is a scroll, currently in production, which contains facts on nuclear power. In particular, facts on spent fuel rods.

So why impose nuclear facts onto such peaceful imagery from a land charged with a history with nuclear issues? The idea of these places never being able to be accessed again should a nuclear disaster happen again came to mind. Of course Hiroshima and Nagasaki come to mind. And at the same time what could stop it from happening here. It seems our neighbors to the slight north west in Vermont were working to have a license for one of the reactors there not be renewed. Imagine not being able to return to your home because of a mistake or natural disaster damages the plant. It is not far fetched.

A nice detail shot! Here in the U.S. we store the spent fuel rods. Basically uranium or plutonium pellets are placed in the rods. These rods are the basic fuel that powers a nuclear plant. These plants are generally giant steam engines. Each rod has a shelf life of six years. This is where it gets creepier. When they are no longer viable as fuel they need to be cooled. They are so hot that they must be stored in a pool of water for quite a number of years before they are cool enough to be placed in a concrete container. Think about it. Something stays that long and radioactive for that amount of time. Over my years on this planet I have read numerous articles and heard many of our fair leaders tout nuclear energy as green. How the hell is the byproduct of this type of energy clean? It contaminates ground water, soil and makes whole areas uninhabitable.

A fine bamboo forest above! My goal is to print up one hundred of these to go out into the world. The fact scrolls are currently in production. Thirty of the lanterns are complete. I do like the idea of these delicate little things dealing with something of something with such brute force. I hope to complete them by August 1. I am willing to send a handful out to people who are willing to light them up in different locations on the same day. Nuclear power is something that has been overlooked for a long time now. Even if these get a few people to raise their eyebrows or learn a bit more about the actual facts of nuclear power I will be happy.

So I must go now. I will post further details about getting these out to folks in the next week or two. I also have another nobori set of three in the works. Perhaps I will post those next week.

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