In 1978, a Soviet reconnaissance satellite named the Kosmos 954, upon reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, crashed while scattering radioactive debris over a wide area of Northern Canada.
The Kosmos 954 was remarkable. It was a spy satellite with a little secret, which today, or sometime soon in the future, could have an enormous impact on humanity's dependence on fossil fuels. This is what 27-year-old nuclear scientist Taylor Wilson believes.
Taylor is a scientific prodigy and advocate, a literal nuclear boy genius known and respected by the scientific community worldwide. At 14, he successfully fused an atom, the youngest person in history ever to accomplish fusion.
He advises many companies and governments regarding nuclear science and has even invented groundbreaking nuclear technologies with commercial applications, particularly in security, medicine and energy. For instance, he created a counter-terrorist device that identifies nuclear materials and dirty bombs in cargo containers, among many other technologies.
Taylor believes that nuclear energy is our future and the only way we can power humanity sustainably. One of his pet projects and the subject of one of his Ted Talks is to build a small nuclear fission reactor that can provide carbon and fossil-fuel-free power to about 100,000 homes without the risk of a Chernobyl-like meltdown.
However, to make one, he would need to design a small reactor, similar to the small (and secret) reactor that powered the Kosmos 954, whose design has sadly been lost to the secrecy of Soviet-era Russia.
So Taylor and his nuclear hunting buddy Carl Willis embarked on a mission to brave the cold and unforgiving wilderness of Canada's Northern Territories to find this secret reactor core to move forward in their research and development and complete his small reactor.
Armed with the latest nuclear detection instruments, ample camping supplies, liters of bug spray, and a wilderness expert name Pierre Bernard to give them a fighting chance of survival, the two brilliant yet eccentric friends cast off on their journey.
They arrive at Yellowknife, the territory's capital and jump-off point for their search. The Northern Territories is a vast area that makes up more than one-third of Canada. Its terrain is challenging, made up of forests and tundra. It is also one of the most naturally radioactive places on the planet. This makes it more difficult for Taylor and Carl because they mostly find rocks with naturally occurring radiation to their great - but good-natured - frustration.
Despite being totally out of their comfort zone, our intrepid treasure hunters forge on, beset by bad weather, curious black bears, swarming bugs, and more. They are taking advantage of this chance to make a spectacular find, One that can dramatically alter the planet's course and break our dependence on fossil fuels.