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High school kids building nuclear reactors?

  1. Jan 13, 2012 #1
    So occasionally I see something in the news about some teenage who built a nuclear reactor in his basement. And just the other day, my girlfriend told me that one of her clients mentioned that her boyfriend is a Physics major at my university, and has a nuclear reactor in his garage that he started building when he was 12.

    Needless to say, this is all making me feel pretty inadequate. But all of the aside, I was wondering how people even go about doing something like that, regardless of their age. Wouldn't it be highly illegal to do something like that? How do they get a hold of radioactive materials? And wouldn't it cost A LOT of money to make?

    I'm just curious if these people are just insanely talented/lucky/wealthy, or if building a nuclear reactor isn't as hard as I thought.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Building a 900MW commercial reactor and electrical generating plant is hard.

    Building one in your garage with no intention of powering anything isn't as hard :) I'm no expert on reactors but things like "Nuclear reactor" and "particle accelerator" and "telescope" cover a vast spectrum in terms of complexity and usefulness.
  4. Jan 13, 2012 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry, we don't discuss dangerous or illegal activities on the PF. Thread is closed.
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