clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Gucci Web Developer Building a Nuclear Reactor in Brooklyn

New, 2 comments

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Gucci web developer Mark Suppes has a pretty extraordinary hobby. In a "hired workshop" in Boerum HIll, Brooklyn, Suppes has spent about $35,000 of his own money (along with about $4,000 of donated money) and built—wait for it—a nuclear reactor.

"I was inspired because I believed I was looking at a technology that could actually work to solve our energy problems," he told the BBC.

While the BBC are calling this "Extreme DIY," we are going to call it "Extreme WTF." Sure, okay, there's no uranium and no plutonium involved in the project and building a nuclear reactor is, technically, legal in the United States—as long as all the materials are legally obtained, but we're not sure we should be completely unconcerned about nuclear fusion happening in the middle of a major metropolitan area.

During fusion, energy is released as atomic nuclei are forced together at high temperatures and pressures to form larger nuclei.

Scientists say devices like Mr Suppes' pose no real threat to neighbouring communities or the environment because they contain no nuclear materials, such as uranium or plutonium.

"There is no chance of any kind of accident with fusion," says Neil Calder, communications chief for Iter, a multi-national project begun in 1985 with the aim of demonstrating the feasibility of fusion power....

Mr Suppes is hoping to build a break-even reactor from plans created by the late Robert Bussard, a nuclear physicist who drew up plans for a fusion reactor that could convert hydrogen and boron into electricity.

Work on a scaled up version of a Bussard reactor, funded by the US Navy, has already been taking place in California.

What ever happened to normal, everyday, non-nuclear hobbies like fishing, or knitting, or watercolor painting?
· The Gucci Employee Who Built a Nuclear Reactor in Brooklyn [Gawker]
· Extreme DIY: Building a homemade nuclear reactor in NYC [BBC]