If you visited Disneyland's Tomorrow land between 1957 and 1967, you might've seen Monsanto's House of the Future. Among many other amazing features contained within the model home, one that seems to be impossible to imagine today is something that visitors didn't even get to glimpse. While walking through the house and marveling at its wonders, a voiceover provided explanations. Near the end, the recording stated that "To keep inconvenience and power costs down, the entire house's electricity and its centralized heating are provided by a small nuclear power plant in the house's support pylon, completely shielded with plastic for complete safety."
Wait, what? A small nuclear power plant? There have been more than 50 accidents at nuclear power plants since Chernobyl in 1986, and while there are still hundreds of nuclear power plants in operation around the world (and many nuclear-powered ships and submarines), it's become a highly controversial topic for a bunch of reasons. Nobody wants to live near a nuclear power plant, much less consider the idea of one inside their home. But the very first commercial nuclear power plant was just up and running when the House of Tomorrow opened. This was the Atomic Age, when we thought that nuclear power would eventually be used to power airplanes and cars, as well as make using fossil fuels a thing of the past. Obviously it didn't turn out that way, and we need much more than plastic to shield us from nuclear radiation. Homes that are completely self-sufficient or "off the grid" exist, but it's certainly not the norm ... yet.