A children’s playground atop a nuclear waste site? The Village Inside the Nuclear Power Plant imagines an inventive — even whimsical — future for a defunct station in Mihama, Japan. Currently, the default approach to decommissioning sees radioactive waste buried in deep geological repositories until it loses potency (which takes hundreds of thousands of years). This strategy is known to be unsustainable. (Furthermore, the Fukushima disaster in 2011 was a painful reminder of the urgent need to rethink our reliance on nuclear energy altogether.)
Bartlett student Sabina Blasiotti’s thesis proposes the recycling and recovery of nuclear waste, postulating the progress of novel decontamination technologies along the way. Its architectural complexity, meanwhile, is best illustrated by the incorporation of traditional Japanese elements, such as a Shinto sanctuary, into the very heart of the disused power plant; the resolutely futuristic design of the surrounding village, meanwhile, introduces an assortment of offbeat home typologies, from the Discharge House to the Templed Barn. Also part of the richly detailed concept: a range of ceremonial and commercial activities, such as fishing, rice farming and sake brewing.
Even if it seems fanciful, this impressively researched project makes a resounding case for the necessity of innovative, sustainable and adaptable ways to decommission nuclear plants and imagine a more hopeful future for the communities — and the land — that surround them.
The Village Inside the Nuclear Power Plant imagines an inventive — even whimsical — future for a defunct station in Mihama, Japan.