Archaeology of nuclear energy
A film by Volker Sattel


The film starts with a promise. Something glows, vibrates for a moment, builds structures of beauty – a “light”, that our eye cannot see, the wild heart of a technology, which circulates around the term “control” since its inception.

If, as Volker Sattel, the sliding ride decreases the review again and again – scanning the things, buildings and equipment that can be gathered under the term “nuclear energy” –visible in the center of our present an utopian project that needs no words.

Gazing the unfinished monument of a glorious future that is fascinating till today, in spite of its cracks and dangerous contradictions. Under control bears in mind how big the effort is, this science fiction which means: “peaceful” use of nuclear energy, to reconcile with reality.

The film explains this world in small doses, providing insight into the secretive life behind the walls of German nuclear plants. We see glistening bright control centers, Decontamination doors, fog machines, to enter the depth of the deposits to experience the power of superhuman rationality that suppose to keep the power of the smallest parts under control.

Not coincidentally the architecture and the props are reminding of a space flight on earth. Even in this world mistakes are “forbidden”. But as we are already having trouble to accept the idea of a journey over decades, the half-live periods of radiant substances burst our bonds of imagination.

At the end reamins the sensation of futility. It almost seems as if we have disappointed the nuclear power, not the other way around. The miracle of this technology is waiting patiently for a new human being that is more rational – and not afraid of eternity.



  • Idea and Director together withVolker Sattel
  • Stefan Stefanescu
  • DOPVolker Sattel
  • SoundNikolaus Woernle
  • Filipp Forberg
  • EditorStephan Krumbiegel
  • Executive ProducerDorothea Seeger
  • Fabian Pöhlmann
  • EditorsJutta Krug (WDR)
  • Sabine Rollberg (ARTE)
  • ProducerSusann Schimk
  • Jörg Trentmann


11th Japan Wildlife Film Festival (2013): Global Issues Encouragement Award
Uranium Film Festival (2013): Special Achievement Award
Grimme-Preis (2013): Nomination in the category “Information & Culture”
12th FICA (2012): Best feature length Documentary
29th Environmental international film festival (2012): Documentary Award
VDFK (2012): Nominated in the categories “Best Documentary” and “Best Camera”
German Film Academy Award (2012): Preselection in the category “Documentary”
Cineeco International Festival of Environmental Film and Video (2011): Special Jury Award
German Editing Award (2011): Winner of the Bild-Kunst Editing Award for documentary
5th Atlantis Natur- und Umweltfilmfestival Wiesbaden (2011): 3rd place
German Camera Award (2011): Nominated
German Editing Award (2011): Nominated
Film Award of the Bayrische Landeszentrale für neue Medien (2011): Nominated
German Film Review Board (2011): “Documentary of the month January”
Seal of Approval “Highly Recommended” by the German Film Review Board

Technical Details

Documentary, 98 min, 35mm 2-Perf., colour, Dolby Digital, 1:2,40
© 2011 credofilm in coproduction with WDR, ARTE supported by Kuratorium Junger deutscher Film, Gerd-Ruge-Stipendium, Filmstiftung NRW, DFFF

Distribution: Farbfilm verleih (in collaboration with arsenal institut für film und videokunst)
World Sales: Journeyman Pictures
Theatrical release Germany: 26th of May 2011
DVD: Order online

Download Press kit (PDF, 1,25MB)