17 Y.O. Boy Scout Built A Nuclear Reactor In His Mom’s Backyard

The story of David Charles Hahn (1976-2016) is not an ordinary one.

Back in 1994, in a shed next to his mother’s house, the then 17-year-old David Hahn made a nuclear reactor from batteries, old clocks, lanterns, uranium from Czechoslovakia and duct tape. The story attracted media attention and David was named the ‘Radioactive Boy Scout.’

David Hahn was a boy scout from a small town who was always fascinated with science and chemistry.

David’s passion grew even further when he acquired ‘The Golden Book Of Chemistry Experiments,’ as a gift from his grandfather.

David converted his mother’s basement into a lab where he could conduct chemical experiments.

During one accident, the family home was set on fire and Hahn’s mother decided that he should move his ‘lab’ into the shed in the backyard.

As a boy scout, David earned an Atomic Energy Merit Badge, which gave him the idea to build his own nuclear reactor.

He got in touch with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and started corresponding with them, pretending to be a physics teacher.

After the project was finished, the radiation levels in the area had risen dramatically, so David decided to dismantle the reactor.

While trying to get rid of it, David was stopped by the police and arrested. The authorities had cleared the shed off all nuclear materials.

David never agreed to do any tests to determine any possible damage done by his experiments, due to fear of what he might find.

Sadly, Hahn passed away in 2016 aged just 39, due to alcohol poisoning.


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