Backyard nuclear reactor
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“It's kinda chilly in here, would you pull one of the control rods?”
Building a nuclear reactor in your backyard or garage is a fun and safe way to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign energy sources and reduce your home's carbon footprint. Use it to power your home, heat a whirlpool, or just wow the neighbors with your new toy. Any excess water run-off can be used to irrigate your garden, where it will produce beautiful and unusual foliage.
edit Practical Considerations
Not every home is right for a backyard nuclear reactor. If you live in an apartment or condo, you might not have adequate facilities for this style of reactor. You might consider investing in an electricity generating microbial fuel cell garbage disposal or manufacturing biodiesel in the bathtub. You should also consult your local zoning ordinances to ensure home nuclear activity isn't prohibited by your municipality.
You will need the following supplies to build your backyard nuclear reactor:
- 1 30 gallon plastic trash can with locking lid (to keep out children and other pests)
- 8 4 foot lengths of 2.5" diameter PVC pipe
- 12 4 foot lengths of 3" diameter PVC pipe
- 2 garden hoses
- a meat thermometer
- 8 U-235 fuel rods, available from your local hobby shop or al Qaeda sleeper cell
According to David Hahn:
- Using a utility knife, cut 20 holes in the lid of the trash can to accommodate the 2.5" and 3" PVC pipes. Arrange the holes so that all the pipes will be evenly distributed. Cut two smaller holes to accommodate the garden hoses. Put the lid on the garbage can and lock it and insert the pipes and garden hoses through the holes.
- Connect one of the garden hoses to a supply of heavy water and fill the garbage can. Note: if you live near a nuclear power plant, you may already be getting heavy water in the tap. If not, regular water will probably work just as well.
- Insert the 8 U-235 fuel rods into the 2.5" PVC pipes. Safety first!!! Always use rubber gloves when handling the U-235!
- WARNING: Before completing step #3, be sure to fill the 3" PVC control rods with an appropriate dampening material to avoid a run-away reaction and catastrophic overheating! The "pros" use graphite or boron in their control rods, but a good potting soil will work nicely too.
- Insert the meat thermometer through the lid of the garbage can, making sure it contacts the heavy water below.
If this simple procedures were carried out correctly, you should see a healthy blue glow. Nice work!
Using your backyard nuclear reactor is really quite simple. By adjusting the flow of heavy water or by inserting or withdrawing the control and fuel rods, you can control how much energy is created. Fully inserting all the fuel rods is like turning the heat up to "HIGH", while withdrawing a few fuel rods will allow the reactor to cool off. With a little practice, you'll be able to finely tune the energy output of your reactor to suit any demand.
edit Waste Disposal
Uranium is a very potent fuel, so your U-235 fuel rods will provide energy for your home for several years. After some time however, the uranium will become depleted and the fuel rods will need to be replaced.
Luckily, most terrorist organizations will exchange your spent fuel rods for new ones for a nominal fee. These organizations typically use the high-level nuclear waste in their dirty bomb programs. Remember, we want to protect the environment for future generations, and to do that we have to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Donating your nuclear waste to the less fortunate not only helps the environment, but it's the socially responsible thing to do.