David Hahn AKA The Radioactive Boy Scout (Who is David Hahn? (October 30,…
David Hahn AKA The Radioactive Boy Scout
What is a breeder reactor?
A nuclear reactor that generates more fissile material than it consumes. (More efficient)
There was concern that uranium would be scarce however it turned out that is was cheaper and abundant.
Thought to be safe, but the sodium coolant could lead to a fire
Interest declined after 1960s
Who is David Hahn?
October 30, 1976 – September 27, 2016
Attempted to build a breeder reactor
Lived in Commerce Township, Michigan
Became an Eagle Scout after his lab was dismantled.
Served in the US Navy and US Marine Corp
Was treated in a psychiatric unit
Died of alcohol poisoning
How did he create a homemade reactor?
Interested in chemistry during his time as a Boy Scout
Hahn collected radioactive materials from various household products
Posed as an adult to gain trust, help, and resources.
The breeder reactor emitted dangerous levels of radiation (over 1,000 times normal background radiation)
Police noticed "suspicious objects" in his backseat during a traffic stop
Due to the alarming levels of radiation, he began to dismantle his lab.
Due to the police encounter, Federal Radiological Emergency Response team responded.
Joint effort between FBI and Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The US EPA labeled Hahn's mother's shed a Superfund hazardous materials cleanup site
All the contents were buried in a low-level radioactive waste site in Utah
Hahn's mother had thrown away materials before the EPA got there!
Hahn refused medical evaluation, but his death is partially attributed to his radioactive exposure.