FOX Seattle, March 12, 2013: We don’t always know what our neighbors have inside their homes, but you might be more than a bit surprised if you discovered one of your neighbors was operating a nuclear reactor in his basement [... Carl] Greninger boots up the fusion reactor every Friday night so that a group of high school physics students can use it as a hands-on learning experience.
KPLU (Emphasis Added): Why are kids in Federal Way playing with a nuclear reactor? [...] Greninger is a Microsoft IT manager, and doesn’t have any nuclear engineering experience per se. But he settled on building a nuclear fusion reactor in his house, and inviting teenagers to help. [...] Greninger bankrolled the thing himself (he declines to cite a figure, but says it was well into six-figure territory) [...] As for the law, Greninger is apparently in the clear. Because the fusor doesn’t use radioactive fuel, it falls under state regulations rather than the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Washington Office of Radiation Protection did pay Carl a visit once after a neighbor raised some concerns. Health physicist Mike Brennan inspected the facilities. He saw the safeguards, the shielding and the radiation dose meters everyone wears. [...] “I think that it is not only safe, but he is teaching safety, so a culture of safety is radiating out from his secret lab.” [...] If Greninger has his way, some of these kids will restock the talent in America’s nuclear industries – making advances in energy, nuclear medicine and materials science. The significance of this kind of work isn’t lost on kids like Krystal, a 15-year-old from Auburn who’s been with the group since 7th grade [...]
Published: March 13th, 2013 at 9:40 pm ET