Drawing for Sale
Forbiddance © 2008 Monica Gunderson - All Rights Reserved; Unauthorized Reproduction Prohibited
Graphite Pencil Drawing
Matted and ready to be framed.
Matted with acid-free white matting and foam core board backing.
Matted Size: 16 x 12 inches
The Story Behind the Art:
My home town is about thirty miles downriver from Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State. As with any city, I had learned about the city's history throughout school, including Hanford since that is the main job source within that area. The Hanford site was part of the Manhattan Project during WWII and had helped with the manufacture of plutonium for the first nuclear bomb that had decimated Nagasaki Japan. The Hanford Site had been used for processing plutonium for weapons and the reactor was decommissioned by the end of the cold war. Once the reactors where closed down, the Hanford Site was mainly used for scientific studies, research, weapon testing, nuclear testing, and nuclear energy production. Unfortunately, early safety precautions and proper waste disposal was not recognized until decades later. Radioactive waste was improperly buried and undocumented and old reactors that were not decommissioned properly, resulting in radioactive waste leaking into the soil, groundwater, and the Columbia River. There is also evidence that radioactive materials have even been released in the air during operations, especially during 1945 - 1980. Because of the hazardous materials that were released in the surrounding environment for decades, there is a lot of radioactive contamination in animals, plants, and "downwind" communities. It was not until 2014 that there has been a major movement in environmental cleanup in the area, and is one of the most contaminated sites in the western hemisphere and is also the largest cleanup projects in the world.
"Forbiddance" is how I felt growing up there, that eventually everything would fall apart, decomposing from the nuclear waste and that plants would be highly contaminated being uneatable and untouchable. "Forbiddance" is my depiction of what the world may be like if we do not heed the warning of Hanford and keep seeking for nuclear energy and weapons. Even to this day, I do not think that the human race can fully comprehend the use of nuclear energy or weapons. There is just too much that we do not understand, especially that of containing the nuclear waste. The nuclear waste is for the short term placed in large pools made of reinforced concrete, then placed containers to be stored in large storage facilities above or below ground, and far as I know, there are no long term solutions. Depending on the type of radioactive isotope, it can take 10,000 to 1,000,000 years to decay. There has been research about burrowing holes in the ground and disposing the nuclear waste there, or dumping it into our oceans in hopes that the nature of the seas will "take care of it", and even thoughts of injecting it into space. I am not a scientist, and will not claim on how to properly use nuclear energy or dispose of nuclear waste, but I have learned some of the history behind it, seen its effects on the environment and people, and do not feel that nuclear energy should be an energy creating solution.
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Monica Gunderson Fine Artist