An amateur physicist built a fusion reactor at home. This article may help you build your own

The tinkerer has been working on his reactor for two years.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Homemade fusion reactor.William Jack/Wikimedia Commons

In 2020, we brought you news of a former student at Marlborough Boys College in New Zealand attempting to sell a homemade nuclear fusion reactor.  If the story seems familiar it's because another tinkerer built a DIY fusion nuclear reactor, this time in New York in 2010, according to the BBC.

Is a mini fusion reactor possible?

Mark Suppes, a web developer for fashion giant Gucci, worked on his reactor for two years in a warehouse in New York. Impressively enough, he got somewhere.

He was in 2010 the 38th independent amateur physicist in the world to achieve nuclear fusion from a homemade reactor, according to community site Fusor.net. 

"I was inspired because I believed I was looking at a technology that could actually work to solve our energy problems, and I believed it was something that I could at least begin to build," Suppes told at the time the BBC.

But is it safe?

Meanwhile, experts argued that devices like Suppes' are no threat at all as they contain no nuclear materials, such as uranium or plutonium.

"There is no chance of any kind of accident with fusion," Neil Calder, communications chief for Iter, a multi-national project dedicated to demonstrating the feasibility of fusion power, told the BBC.

"There's no CO2 pollution, there's no greenhouse gases, you can't use it for proliferation [the spread of nuclear weapons] - it has so many advantages," he said at the time.

Can I make a fusion reactor at home?

The question then becomes: can anyone make these devices at home? The short answer is yes. The long one is that it would require a lot of research and technical know-how.

However, for those wishing to replicate this process, it should be noted that it is not that expensive. Suppes purchased his reactor's parts on eBay with $35,000 of his own money and about $4,000 that he raised on a website that connects artists and inventors with private investors.

The amateur physicist was also looking for more people interested in investing in his wild dreams.

"He now has to go out and do what everybody else has to do, which is to convince people to invest in his project - whether its government funding or private funding to carry him through," explained Calder. 

Amateur DIY nuclear fusion reactors are actually quite popular.

In 2018, YouTuber Will from London decided to make his own desktop fusion reactor. And in 2019, an amateur physicist built a fusion reactor in his backyard.

If you are interested in building your own fusion reactor, you can find plenty of tips online. One of the best instruction manuals can be found here.

It should be noted, however, that it is no easy task and requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

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