In a push to move towards clean energy, Germany has been focusing on closing down all of their nuclear power plants by the year 2022. As the country closes down more of these plants, the structures that remain hold a historical significance. That is why Michael Danner, a German photographer, decided to act fast and document the dying industry. From 2007 to 2011, Danner gained exclusive access to many of the remaining power plants and is now releasing his photographs in the upcoming book Critical Mass.
Critical Mass takes you on a tour of the facilities as seen in the surrounding towns all the way into the deep inner workings of the plants, including the cooling pools, labs, and even the normal offices. The idea is to capture the nuclear power plants in a documentary fashion and to show the human side instead of the more typical fear-inducing image presented by most media.
When you look at a sampling of the photos, it appears as if you’ve gone back in time. Germany’s nuclear power saw a significant rise in use during the 1970’s and 80’s, and you definitely get a sense of that when you take a look inside some of the plants. It’s amazing to see the mix of old and new still in operation today.
In in effort to show all sides of the story, Michael Danner also takes some space in his book to document the protests that occurred in the 70’s and 80’s with photos by Günter Zint and police archives.
The 284-page book containing over 150 photographs is expected to come out in August. If want a sneak peek at some of the fascinating photos, Wired recently published a piece about Critical Mass and has an extensive gallery online.