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The Hiding Place: Inside the World’s First Long-Term Storage Facility for Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste

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An excerpt from Robert Macfarlane’s new book Underland.

Birches, birches, pines, birches, clearing, blue farmhouse. Low river valley, wooden bridge. Everything frozen: rivers, trees, turf, fields. Pink crag of granite, yellow ice-fall spilling from it. Boulders big as houses between the birches, among the pines. Black crow pulling red flesh off the white ribs of a dead fox. Jackdaw, jackdaw.

This is not a place for you.

The pirate radio station plays Blondie’s “Atomic.” Snakes of spindrift race on the blacktop. Snow whirls in the headlights. Gray air that will not brighten. A boy riding a bike with sit‑up‑and-beg handlebars fast past a blue letter-box on a white pole. Gneiss, silver-gray, quick with mica and ice.

This place is not a place of honor.

Over the bridge to the island. Salt marsh to either side of the bridge. Sea in shattered slabs of ice. Wind skittering stiff reeds, and starlings moving black above the reeds. The sea is frozen for half a mile offshore. Far out in the gulf, beyond sight, there are 30-foot-high waves moving west through the half-light.

Pay attention. We are serious. Sending this message was significant for us. Ours was considered an important culture.

We are going to tell you what lies underground, why you should not disturb this place, and what may happen if you do.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !