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Bernhard Ludewig documents the latest German nuclear plant

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Bernhard Ludewig documents the latest German nuclear plant

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

After the earthquake and tsunami triggered several devastations at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2011, shock waves were felt throughout the world’s nuclear industry. More than 5,000 miles away in Germany, where the use of atomic energy has long been a matter of contention, the incident sounded like a death knell.

Chancellor Angela Merkel soon was announced that he took seven of the country’s oldest nuclear power plants. Soon after, he promised that the remainder would be permanently closed by 2022, with the country’s focus shifting to renewable alternatives.

So when photographer Bernhard Ludewig visited the nuclear plant for the first time in 2012, a year after Fukushima, he not only glanced at an inaccessible world – he documented the closing chapter in German history.

The control rod is depicted in an open reactor at the Emsland Nuclear Power Plant in northwest Germany. Credit: Bernhard Ludewig

“We chose the moment when they changed fuel rods,” he recalled this first meeting during a telephone interview. “We talked to the person who operated the loading machine and we were able to ride it right above the reactor, and I got my first photo. I saw some press photos, but it was a different matter when you were there. This is the beginning of the project.”

Ludewig then visited dozens of other sites in the following years. Through a combination of documents, persuasion and trust building, he gained rare access to some of the country’s last remaining nuclear facilities, as well as capturing ongoing demolition.

Inspired by Edward Burtynsky (a Canadian photographer known for depicting mines, oil refineries and other human interventions on natural landscapes), he decided to record a complete picture of the country’s atomic sector – not only power plants, but also research centers, training facilities and repositories for radioactive waste.
Inside the aluminum-paneled control room of the Karlsruhe FR2 research reactor that was not used.

Inside the aluminum-paneled control room of the Karlsruhe FR2 research reactor that was not used. Credit: Bernhard Ludewig

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The resulting photos are, sometimes, alluring. Ludewig’s focus on patterns and symmetry revealed the beauty hidden in the complex centrifuges, the retro-style control room and the towering cooling tower which he described as having a religious quality, like a cathedral.

“Sometimes a machine or object like someone – I try to take a picture of it,” he said. “You take photos and don’t think too much about what they are. You have feelings, and you follow them. And it gets smoother every time.”

Stay neutral

Ludewig has now compiled around 300 photos into a new book, “Nuclear Dreams“Set in more than 400 pages, this is a complete survey of nuclear power, complete with diagrams, illustrations and contributing essays on physics and architecture.

The photographer also explored what he called “atomic age aesthetics” through vintage posters and equipment that claimed the benefits of the new technology. This early utopian image, inspired by movements such as modernism and the Bauhaus school, offers a clear alignment with facility images that are often faded at this time.

In the exploration mine that was drilled under the city of Gorleben, where radioactive waste can be stored permanently.

In the exploration mine that was drilled under the city of Gorleben, where radioactive waste can be stored permanently. Credit: Bernhard Ludewig

But Ludewig stated that he was not for or against nuclear power, but rather “neutral” who was attracted by technology that once carried promises of the future. The goal, he said, was to capture this lost world for the sake of our children and grandchildren, not to promote or criticize the country’s energy policy.

“That’s really documented,” added Ludewig, who said disagreements about nuclear power were like “civil war” in Germany. “You have two camps. It’s like Trump’s America, you are a Republican or left-wing liberal and they don’t talk to each other. Anyone who says something is considered to be for us or against us.”

While Fukushima served as a catalyst for broad public opposition in Germany, the country’s commitment to stop nuclear plants the 20th year ago. The debate about the perceived danger and lack of atomic energy is still older.

During the 1970s, left-wing protests outside nuclear facilities in the former West Germany were common, and often resulted in clashes with police. Proposals to dump radioactive waste in the salt mine in Gorleben have made the small town a hotspot for demonstrations ever since. (Ludewig’s book includes photographs of exploration mines drilled under Gorleben as part of Germany’s ongoing search for permanent answers to its nuclear waste problem).

The Ludewig project also took him to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which was abandoned in Ukraine today.

The Ludewig project also took him to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which was abandoned in Ukraine today. Credit: Bernhard Ludewig

But for Ludewig, the real “turning point” is Chernobyl. The 1986 disaster – which sent radioactive falls across Europe, caused a surge in cancer rates and leaving an area of ​​1,000 square miles in Ukraine today which is largely uninhabitable – fundamentally changing the debate in Germany. Soviet-designed facilities in the east of the country, such as the Greifswald Nuclear Power Plant, were deactivated after the country’s reunification. And no new nuclear power facilities have been built in Germany from the 1990s onwards.

So like visiting sites in Finland and Brazil, Ludewig also made a pilgrimage to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to paint a more complete picture of the industry. The photos he returned, including frightening images from the control room that had long been left behind, helped give objectivity and balance to the project, he said.

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“If you publish hundreds of images of nuclear power that show hidden beauty, and you don’t show havoc, then that won’t be honest.”

Nuclear Dream: A Hidden World of Atomic Energy, “published by DOM, available now.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets Ptix.bm For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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CRISTANO RONALDO CAN MAKE UP A GIANT IN CARIOCA AND PORTUGUESE TECHNICIAN SAYS ‘There will be room’

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CRISTANO RONALDO CAN MAKE UP A GIANT IN CARIOCA AND PORTUGUESE TECHNICIAN SAYS 'There will be room'

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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