Meet the man with a nuclear reactor in his basement

Meet the man with a nuclear reactor in his basement

(intense music) – [Automated Voice]
Shield lighting off. (hi-hat plays) Roughing pump on. Roughing pump on – Okay, so we’re not
in danger right now of a nuclear explosion? (alarm sounds)
(electric beeping) Where are we and what
is going on here? – Well you’re in
the reactor room at Northwest Nuclear
Laboratories. – Which is?
– Also my basement. – Got ya. (electricity beeping
and whirring) (switches clicking) – [Carl] Behind us is a
thermonuclear atomic reactor. This bottom part of the
unit, I ordered from eBay. – [Automated Voice]
High voltage supply off. – Got it from NASA. It was actually used
during the assembly of the Columbia Space Shuttle. We got it, cleaned it all
back up, took it apart, had it painted at
an auto body shop, and brought it back to life. – So NASA has an eBay account? – NASA has an eBay account. – Did not know that. – [Carl] It is a device
that draws a bunch of ions, which are a form of
atom, to a central point we call a negative
potential well, and it does so so
quickly that they collide and they literally
fuse together. – [Katie] And what
temperature would that be? – [Carl] 300 million degrees. That’s hotter than the
surface of the sun. This process releases
atomic particles in a form of radiation
that we can detect and we can actually
use those particles for a variety of useful
scientific processes. Everything from oncology,
material science, some of the energy aspects,
and delve a little bit into something called
quantum mechanics. – I understand what
quantum mechanics is. Sure, you don’t need
to explain that. So this is safe, right? – It is safe. DSHS Office of Radiation
Protection has been out here and performed an
inspection on the machine at the request of a
resident who was concerned because they had seen
a newspaper article on our operation. – So one of your
neighbors narced you out? – We don’t know if
it was a neighbor. We have a very good relationship on this block with our
neighbors, as a matter of fact. – Well, and it’s held
together by duct tape, so I assume that it’s
in really good shape. – The duct tape is
an important quality of any real
scientific equipment. (electric clicking)
(bouncy music) Yeah, for seven years,
there is literally no exposure for any of our
students or any of our staff above what is called
“background radiation”. – I think we’re safe. – And that’s the same radiation that you and I both experience when we stand outside
on a sunny day. (man lecturing students) – Northwest Nuclear Laboratories
is a response my wife and I have to a situation we
see having to do with young people dropping
out of high school, and dropping out of college. This machine is a
training reactor. Our job is to use this reactor to train the
scientists of tomorrow. My philosophy is treating them
as scientists from day one. Explain what science is,
put a lab coat on ’em, put the safety glasses
in their pockets, set ’em in front
of a real reactor, have them drive and realize,
“This is something I could do.” The hope is that some day, someone will come up with a
small fusion-powered device that will generate electricity. – Maybe one of your students? – Very possibly. Emergency! Rel, code one! Scram! (pounds button)
(electricity stops whirring) – It’s off. (mystical cadence plays) This program is made possible by the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting.

36 thoughts on “Meet the man with a nuclear reactor in his basement

  1. I love the Star Trek computer interface! What type of radiation, and how much of it are pumped out of this machine?

  2. Is the methode that you use for fussing the ions a possible candidate for industrial grade nucliare fusion. Forgive me if my english is rubbish I am a 16 year old from the Netherlands

  3. What is this "negative potential well" making the ions fuse together?
    300 million degrees C, K or F?
    More information about what the reactor is used for apart from "quantum mechanics" would be interesting.
    And WHY is it in this dudes Basement, who is using it and how is it financed?

  4. Interesting subject. Although I don’t know much more than before watching the video. How does this thing work? What are they working on there? The video doesn’t really contain much more information than what’s already in the title and the thumbnail.

  5. Ahhhhhh, it's a training system for students, Ok. That makes way more sense then a seemingly rational man claiming to have a working fusion reactor in his basement and not telling the world of his accomplishment.

    Kinda wish you'd lead with that, to be honest, as I'm sure I'm not the only one who was confused.

  6. "Hotter than the surface of the sun" is a gross understatement. The surface is only around 6000 K, but 300 million degrees (F or C) is a lot hotter than the interior or the sun, which is calculated to be just under 16 million K.

  7. “So is this gonna cause an explosion?”
    From a fusor that is literally impossible. Even Chernobyl doesn’t explode.
    But a fusion reactor definitely doesn’t explode.
    Granted this is a thermonuclear reactor, I have not done much research on combined reactors but I would expect some fissile material.

  8. "I understand what Quantum mechanic is Sir you dont need to explain that" hahahha the fact that she think she understand cleary show that she dont xD

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