Underland - Chapters 12 - 13 Summary & Analysis

Robert Macfarlane
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Summary

In Chapter 12 "The Hiding Place," MacFarlane visits the nuclear storage facility in Olkiluoto Finland. He drives there in the midst of a blizzard and arrives at the “tomb” when it is still under construction (398). The containment facility, dubbed Onkalo meaning hiding place in Finnish, is meant to withstand another Ice Age and last 100,000 years.

MacFarlane explains that uranium, the matter needed for nuclear fission, was created in supernova explosions 6.6 billion years ago and provided space dust from which our planet formed. Although we know how to make electricity and death from uranium, we have not figured out how to dispose of it. A quarter of a million tons of nuclear waste exist across the globe and 12,000 tons get added to that every year. MacFarlane goes on to explain the elaborate process spent uranium fuel rods must go through before burial. First the rods...

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This section contains 1,609 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Underland Study Guide
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