This is a series around POWER, a Motherboard 360/VR documentary about nuclear energy. Follow along here.
We recommend watching these videos in a YouTube-friendly VR headset like a Google Cardboard to get the full effect. You can also check them out in 360 on YouTube.
Motherboard takes you inside the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, just outside Toronto, which provides 20 percent of Ontario's electricity. Stand next to the giant turbines. Hover on the edge of the glowing waste pool, where used-up nuclear fuel is kept. And go inside the control room that oversees everything around the clock, 24/7.
Called "the Big Kahuna" of nuclear plants, Darlington is undergoing a $12 billion refurbishment so it can keep supplying nuclear energy to the grid for another 40 years. Public tours ended after 9/11 due to security concerns, but we are taking you inside.
Motherboard pays a visit to the Crago family farm, located right next to the Darlington nuclear plant. The Cragos have been living on this land for a century, and have no plans to leave anytime soon. When the plant opened in 1990, they became neighbours. Now in her eighties, Shirley Crago lives alone on the farm, and uses a wood-burning stove. In fact, she seems to consume very little power.
Motherboard goes inside the Pickering Nuclear Generating Facility, which is Canada's oldest functioning nuclear plant. Critics say it's time to shut the plant down. As of now, the Pickering plant is set to run to 2018, but operators have applied to extend the license to 2024, citing our growing energy needs.
This plant is located in the middle of the growing community of Pickering, Ontario, where residents are torn over what to do about it. In this video, we join a protest on the beach, meet plant employees who trust its safety, and speak with residents who've just gotten used to living down the street from a nuclear plant.
Motherboard visits a nuclear waste site near Kincardine, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Huron and a stone's throw from the Great Lakes. We take you to the incinerators that turn waste into ash, and go inside glowing white rooms where row upon row of massive containers hold high-level nuclear waste—these containers are warm to the touch.
Canada is debating what to do with it nuclear waste. Plant operators want to build an underground vault—a deep geological repository (DGR)—in which to stash the low- and intermediate-level waste: stuff like mop heads and machine parts. It would be the first of its kind in Canada if it goes ahead, and in this video, we travel to Kincardine and ask the mayor and local residents their thoughts on hosting a nuclear waste dump.
Motherboard explores what would happen in the event of a nuclear catastrophe in Ontario, where millions of people live within an hour's drive of a nuclear plant. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, residents within 10 kilometres of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Facility received anti-radiation pills to protect them in the event of a nuclear accident. We take you inside the emergency tents where gear is stashed to prepare for any possibility, and ask operators of these plants how likely it is we could see a nuclear meltdown in Ontario.
Motherboard straps a camera to a helicopter and flies over the power-hungry city of Toronto and the two nearby nuclear plants: the Darlington and Pickering Nuclear Generating Facilities. Host Kate Lunau describes Ontario's changing energy picture and why we're relying so heavily on nuclear power to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, while taking a hard look at the problems that come with this reliance, including what to do with the waste.