The website for Atomteller (“atom plates”) starts with the slogan “Denkmäler des Irrtums – Hoffnung von Gestern – Folklore von Morgen,” which means “Monuments of error – Hope of yesterday – Folklore of tomorrow.” So it’s clear that the site’s creators, writer/director Mia Grau and architect Andree Weissert have created this astonishing set of old school china emblazoned with German nuclear reactors with a highly developed sense of irony.
They point out that windmills are a common motif on folkloric items, and what in today’s world could be more parallel to a windmill than a nuclear reactor? Grau and Weissert write:
As cathedrals of a technological worldview, [nuclear reactors] promised independence and infinite growth. They serve as testimonials of their epoch, relics of progress and a signs of changing times. The days of windmills have long since passed, and sun is setting on the era of German nuclear power as well. High time, therefore, to show nuclear power plants for what they are: monuments of error – hope of yesterday – folklore of tomorrow.
On the underside of each plate is a wealth of information, including the precise coordinates of the reactor, the name of the province in which it is located, nearby bodies of water, the company that owns the reactor, the type of reactor, the reactor’s electrical yield as well as the dates of construction and operation. The most chilling piece of data is the final one, “meldepflichtige Ereignisse,” which means “events that must be reported to a higher authority”—good German bureaucracy-speak for “accidents.”
Each plate costs 39 euros ($43), but you can buy the entire set of 19 plates for just 680 euros ($750).