The Village Inside the Nuclear
Typology: Academic Research
University: Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Site: Mihama, Japan
Year: 2021, 2020
In contrast to the controversial but globally accepted solution of burying radioactive waste in deep geological repositories for over 100,000 years, this project proposes the recycling and recovery of nuclear waste, postulating the progress of current experimental decontamination technologies.
The design narrates the future of a decommissioned nuclear power plant and its surrounding village in Mihama, Japan.
The narrative generates and is generated by an interminable dialogue between nuclear forms and heritage and the traditional life in the Japanese coastal town.
This dialectic is further reflected in the construction of a Shinto sanctuary, integrating ceremonial and commercial activities such as fishing, rice farming and sake brewing.
Influenced by traditional Japanese performative design processes and mimicry, the architecture employs nuclear waste and pure geometric forms repeated isomorphically to preserve their identity and direct their value. The monumental interior of the nuclear reactor is doubled horizontally in the surrounding village and vice-versa, one becoming a mirror image of the other.
Ultimately, the architecture aims to present radioactivity as a natural phenomenon that can and should be addressed, attempting to advance a solution for the nuclear waste crisis, the heritage of nuclear power plants and the economy of the villages that depend on them for their power.