Do-it-yourself reactor

Mark Suppes has become the 38th private person to build his own nuclear reactor.


What do you do with your spare time? A little jogging? Book reading? Gardening? Mark Suppes of New York is like that, except for the jogging, reading and gardening part. He’s into building a nuclear reactor and this week he was added to the list of private individuals who have achieved nuclear fusion from a reactor he built himself. There are 37 others.

He documented his project on his Web site, with assurances that you can do it too. All you have to do is speak a language that sounds suspiciously like not-English.

Previously we were having problems with transient voltages spikes or EMFs crashing the data acquisition (DAQ) card. Today was a big test for the new transient voltage suppression system . It FAILED big time. But I learned something in the process.

I began by intentionally creating an unstable plasma to test the transient voltage system. This crashed the DAQ every time.

Next I disconnected all wires to the DAQ to determine if the interference is coming through the wires or the air:

Right. Of course. The DAQ. You don’t want to crash your DAQ with transient voltage spikes. As if I had to tell you that.

If you go this route, don’t worry about radiation, he says:

Radiation; this should be the least of your worries until about 15,000 volts of acceleration potential. At this point, x-rays start to emanate from viewports due to electron and ion bombardment of metals in the chamber. Always use a camera or mirror to peer into the viewport. X-rays can cause burns and lead to cancer. Above 40,000 volts, x-rays will start to come through the stainless steel chamber walls. At this point, you will need to use lead shielding. Neutron radiation is the most dangerous form of radiation known to man, but the fusor does not put out enough of it to be dangerous until about 45,000 volts. It can easily be shielded with water, wax or plastic. You can also minimize your exposure by standing well away from the fusor, or by operating it for only 20 minutes per week. (this paragraph courtesy of Brian Mcdermott)

He says his reactor could generate more than energy; it could rake in $100 billion a year.

  • John P.

    It looks good to me. Let’s put one underground in every neighborhood. Voila’, carbon free energy, and we don’t even need to build the “grid of the future”. I’m assuming the DAQ can handle it, and that neighborhood kids won’t dig up the nuclear materials. What could go wrong?

  • BJ

    Fusion not Fission

    Fusion is very different the Fission – and the fact that 38 people are doing it to produce energy is wonderful news.

    Nuclear fusion is the process by which multiple atomic nuclei join together to form a single heavier nucleus. Is accompanied by the release or absorption of energy.

    Nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts (lighter nuclei), often producing free neutrons and protons (in the form of gamma rays), as well.

  • BJ

    @ John P – no nuclear materials in it. The ray’s (energy) that is produced is not good for you (like xrays).