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-   -   Like nuclear power? why not build your own reactor... (

auroraglacialis 08-04-2011 04:33 PM

Like nuclear power? why not build your own reactor...
This guy really tried it:

These Men Were Caught Building Homemade Nuclear Reactors


Hahn collected reactor components from everyday household items including americium from smoke detectors and radium from clocks. He even duped professors and adult scientists into thinking he was their colleague instead of a high-school student.

His reaction chamber was a large bored-out piece of lead where he conducted his experiments. The reaction never reached critical mass but it did produce dangerous levels of radiation.
Not long and biotechnology and nanotechnology will also be practiced in the garage. What could possibly go wrong with that? ;) :facepalm:

Aquaplant 08-04-2011 07:12 PM

At least it would be fair if people could produce their own electricity without having to rely on greedy energy companies.

Tsyal Makto 08-04-2011 09:57 PM

That was mentioned on Thom Hartmann today.

Hahn was an interesting one. Needless to say, he - in the words of "Fallout 3" - ghoulified. :P

Isard 08-04-2011 11:28 PM

I read the book. It was good.

As far as an argument against nuclear power however, this is weaker than a shield tanked Geddon.

Human No More 08-05-2011 02:07 AM

Enough Americium to produce a critical mass is in the tens of kilograms of pure isotope (or less with a neutron reflector), while the amount in a smoke detector is in the microgram range and not pure, but an oxide. Assembling enough for a criticality is prohibitively expensive even for weapons, particularly since the presence of other isotopes inhibit the formation of a critical mass. The same is with radium from glowing clocks (which are considered human-safe, after all). It doesn't mention the origin of the uranium, but you can buy uranium ore on the internet (for calibration of detectors) - to make it into anything at all resembling fissile material costs millions and needs massive centrifuges and huge amounts of power.
This seems like someone understanding the theory but not the actual basis, particularly if he was attempting to use lead as a reflector (which is quite literally worse than useless as one).
This is the equivalent of you making a thread saying "Oh no, someone grew a piece of mould in their bathroom!, ban fungi now!!!!!!". Saying 'It didn't reach criticality but produced a dangerous amount of radiation" is like saying "he was killed by falling down the 25m hole, but didn't reach the Earth's core".

Isard 08-05-2011 03:21 AM

That's already been done HNM, it's called weed. :P

Helicoradian 08-05-2011 07:23 AM

What a lovely enrichment facility this gentlemen has :rolleyes:

auroraglacialis 08-05-2011 08:26 AM

Actually I was thinking of this as something crazy, a bit funny, a bit delusional and yes in a way dangerous because he played with things that one should not play with as an individual. After all he did sontaminate the locality. I was not even trying to make a strong argument against nuclear power of this.

Advent 08-05-2011 11:13 PM

Well, if people can make homemade nukes, it's no real surprise someone would try this.

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