David Hahn - Wikipedia

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2022-01-15 04:00:05

David Charles Hahn (October 30, 1976 – September 27, 2016), sometimes called the "Radioactive Boy Scout" or the "Nuclear Boy Scout", was an American man who built a homemade neutron source at the age of seventeen.

A scout in the Boy Scouts of America, Hahn conducted his experiments in secret in a backyard shed at his mother's house in Commerce Township, Michigan. Hahn's goal was to build and demonstrate a homemade breeder reactor. While he never managed to build a reactor, in August 1994 Hahn's progress attracted the attention of local police when they found material in his vehicle that troubled them during a stop for a separate matter. When Hahn warned them that the material was radioactive, the police contacted federal authorities. His mother's property was cleaned up by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ten months later as a Superfund cleanup site. Hahn attained Eagle Scout rank shortly after his lab was dismantled.[1]

While the incident was not widely publicized initially, it became better known following a 1998 Harper's Magazine article by journalist Ken Silverstein. Hahn was also the subject of Silverstein's 2004 book The Radioactive Boy Scout.[1] As an adult, Hahn served in the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. He was subsequently treated for mental illness, and his death at age 39 was related to drug and alcohol use.

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