To paraphrase Peter Graves’ pedophile pilot in “Airplane!,” “Joey, do you like movies about nuclear waste facilities?”
As one of the scientists interviewed in this documentary says, “You can’t make nuclear waste go away. You can’t make nuclear waste harmless.” So the best we can do is seal it up until it no longer is hazardous: 100,000 years.
Director Michael Madsen (not the actor, although he’d do it for a six-pack of PBR), looks at the underground tunnels of Onkalo, a Finnish facility being designed to last at least that long, and won’t even be completed until the 22nd century. His camera snakes and swirls slowly around Onkalo’s insides, with Kubrickian awe and resolve.Equally purposeful are the film’s crisp graphics, from its title cards to a computer map of the facility, whose twisting tunnels digging deep resemble the Umbrella Corporation in the “Resident Evil” franchise. One sequence eerily depicts the radioactive cloud that grew over Chernobyl after that city’s 1986 nuclear accident.