Monday, October 08, 2007

The "Radioactive Boy Scout" gets 90 days in jail


Oddly enough this is the second story in the past few days involving Boy Scouts and hazardous materials (here's a link to the first). Curious, that...

Anyway, last week David Hahn was sentenced to 90 days in jail for stealing smoke detectors from an apartment complex. After being caught taking one, police found 15 other smoke detectors in his apartment.

Years ago David Hahn achieved quite a bit of notoriety as "the Radioactive Boy Scout". It was as a 15-year old kid in Michigan working on achieving his Eagle Scout that Hahn, having already earned the Atomic Energy merit badge, set out to build a full-blown nuclear breeder reactor (a reactor that not only generates energy but creates new fuel) in his parents' shed. The entire weird story was later turned into a book. When Hahn was 17 the authorities finally caught wind of what he was doing. By that time the shed now had a thousand times more radiation than normal background levels. The shed and all of Hahn's apparatus were later buried in a low-level landfill in Nevada.

By the way, Hahn found a lot of the material for his original reactor by cannibalizing smoke detectors for the radioactive isotope of americium that most detectors contain. So was Hahn trying to build another reactor, this time in his apartment's living room?

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