Gamer Builds Nuclear Reactor in Home; FBI Pays a Visit

January 10, 2008 -
This game is rated M for... Mushroom cloud? 

We joke, of course.

But the FBI recently paid a visit to a Texas gamer who was attempting to build a small nuclear reactor in his basement. They were accompanied by local cops as well as officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The man, described by NBC-5 as  an "out-of-work computer whiz who redesigns (GP: mods, perhaps?) video games" is apparently a science buff with a fascination for all things nuclear.

The FBI searched his home but found no cause for concern. The feds did, however, take the man's reactor project with them when they left, at the request of his parents.

Why did the young man embark on such a project? He told the TV news:
[Radiation is] in your tap water, you know, in the dirt. You could hold a Geiger counter up to a banana and get a count off of it. People do it in universities all the time. It's just not usual that somebody does it outside of a university.

Authorities were alerted following a blog entry in which the man described possessing uranium and indicated that the background radiation of his home had doubled. Of the raid on his home the gamer-turned-scientist said:
[FBI agents are] just doing their job. That's their job to come and check on stuff like that. When they left, it had been deemed that, you know, everything was within reason.... I think I'll keep it cool for awhile.

GP: It's interesting that the TV news report makes so much of the man's gaming, even showing him playing Call of Duty 4 at his PC.


Re: Gamer Builds Nuclear Reactor in Home; FBI Pays a Visit

The guy ended up getting testicular canced. not sure if it was related to his project


also only gamers are dangerous, as we all know since all other criminals have since retired their naughty ways and crochet for a living.

Lives with his mom?
Lives with him mom.
A true follower of our kind.

he'll probably get cancer

Too bad he didn't finish it...he could make a nice side line selling excess power to his neighbors.

You know i think it was some kid a few years back that made a small device the could start fusion of a small amount of deuterium. Apparently its a rather common home brew project.

IN other news, radiation not quite as dangerous as anti nuclear hysteria has convinced people it is, film at 11.

"[Radiation is] in your tap water, you know, in the dirt. You could hold a Geiger counter up to a banana and get a count off of it. People do it in universities all the time. It’s just not usual that somebody does it outside of a university."

I hate to get all scientiffical, but that is semi-true. Radation is everywhere, but not in the amounts one finds in a reactor.

So a guy made a nuclear reactor in his basement. And he plays video games. Those are connected... how exactly?

Anything to combat those rising gas prices...


(1) Individual is intelligent enough to build own reactor.
(2) Government wants sole Rights to nuclear power.
(3) Government wants to infringe on citizen's IP Rights to creating their own personal power source.
(4) Government links video games to being evil.
(5) Government links intelligent citizen who can build a reactor to video games.
(6) Government deems intelligent citizen who can build a reactor an "evil genius" because video games are evil and citizen plays video games.
(7) Government confiscates reactor and "leaks" (no pun intended) to the news media that they have stormed the home of an "evil genius" (because he played video games and video games are evil) and taken away his nuclear bomb... er... reactor.
(8) Government has successfully violated IP Rights of citizen and assured that they are the only ones with power to bill citizens for nuclear energy.

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Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

@ nightwing2000

Pardon my ignorance, but does that mean in the USA energy/power is nationalised, rather than privatised? Just curious - an honest query rather than a loaded question...

so thats the news people, COD4 official trains you in the creation of nuclear bombs! *hysteria*

i give this guy kudos for building a nuclear reactor, rising energy prices are a bugger these days, however i suspect he'd've had more luck if he'd not posted this information, finished it, patent'd it, got a small piece of land out in the open, and set up his own energy company.

why, i ask, do the news make so much of gamers being smart?
direct comparrison of smartness with 'he who must not be named' and the average gamer, and we win.

actually, the unmentionable one is quite smart, just lacking in wisdom/plain common sense.

@ Nightwing

My thoughts exactly.

@ Monkeythumbs

Energy is privatised, but heavily under the direct supervision of the government. They get paid large dues and taxes from energy companies. If private citizens are creating their own power, they have to pay taxes on it.

If you are caught building your own nuclear reactor to power your home or your own bio-fuel to fuel your car, they will confiscate if you don't pay the heavy taxes. Chances are that you will be unable to pay those taxes.

Also in the US, if you do manage to get a liscense to power your own house (it is possible, but I don't know of anyone who is totally independent of outside power) you cannot, as a private citizen, make more power than you can personally use. You have to give any excess power back to the state without any compensation. You cannot even give that power to your neighbors as that is outside the liscense.

It sucks horribly.

@Monkeythumbs: No, power here is not nationalized. Nuclear power especially, though, is incredibly highly regulated, and I'm fairly confident there are mandatory government employees at every nuclear plant.

"It’s interesting that the TV news report makes so much of the man’s gaming, even showing him playing Call of Duty 4 at his PC."

@GP: No it's not. I'd stop short of saying they have an AGENDA, but the MSM still goes to some lengths to portray gaming as abnormal. There's no surprise here at all. You've got a person doing something the average viewer would be shocked by/not want in their neighborhood, so the fact that he games is raised clearly. It's SOP.


Many of the nuke plants in the united states are privately run.

The Nuclear regulatory Commission is just that, a Regulatory group that the government created to watch and enforce standards in the nuclear power industry.

@ E. Zachary Knight

I don't know which state you live in, but I have solar panels at my home and during the summer when I generate more power than I consume, the power company buys back the extra electricity I feed into the grid.

has no one picked up on this little tidbit?

"The feds did, however, take the man’s reactor project with them when they left, at the request of his parents."

his parents wanted that reactor out of the house, i dont think the feds cared as much. 'course that's just my interpretation.


Yeah, the company i intern at does the same thing with power on the weekends.

Surprising no one has mentioned the nuclear boyscout incident here in Michigan. Granted the kid, David Hahn, wasn't a gamer in that case, but he did manage to build a full working reactor in a shed behind his mom's house.

Just FYI.

Step one in the inevitable media circus which will attempt to label gamers as terrorists. EVERYBODY PANIC.


I tried to do what he did and get a sample of every stable element on the periodic table then glue them to a large periodic table.

Some of the stuff aint easy to get.

who wants to bet thompson is going to start using the term "nuclear reactor-building simulator"?

@E. Zachary Knight

If that were true anyone with a windmill generator on their house should be imprisoned.

@ Juicehandy and brokenscope

My mistake.

I noticed the same thing too. I don't think it's really that big of a deal that they visited him, because they only ended up taking it away at the request of his parents. They were only there to make sure nothing was going to explode.
The woes of the home power supply aside, I dislike that they included him being a video gamer in the media report. That seems completely unrelated, and the only reason I can see for that fact being included is the media trying to reinforce the "gamers are weird and we want nothing to do with them" mindset.

I'm surprised he wasn't arrested. This would be the most WMDs that the Bush administration has ever found.

@ Juicehandy and brokenscope (again)

Do you have to sell it to the electric company or can you keep it or give it away?

This is only step 2 of the gamers masterplan,

Step 1 Train an army through murder simulators
Step 2 Build Nuclear Reactors to get WMD
Step 3 Take over the world

They should be worried
Very worried
Because soon they won't be able to stop us


Step 4: Profit!

Just to clarify, don't you need a much higher grade of nuclear material for, like say, a bomb?


That's why it's called "weapons-grade" nuclear material.

Ok. So we are fine with Iran (who wants to eliminate the US and Isreal, thos silly people!) haveing nuclear reactors (a krap ton of centrafuges and whatnot and yes i know i'm butchering the spelling but i'm tired) for civilian power, but one kid in the US does it and we have to send the goon squad to interogate him?

Yes, our founding fathers must be so proud.

I don't see the big deal about this except maybe the mention of him being a gamer. which isn't even an issue in this report, but video games are competition to TV so of course they would mention it. But I am glad they took away his reactor project. I dunno about you but I wouldn't want to live next to a house that may or may not give me cancer all because the dude was "bored" or "interested" in nuclear power. Its like a five year old being interested in fire, no one in their right mind would want him playing with it, let alone making it in his basement. If he knew what he was doing, whatever. But I don't know the guy, and even the smartest people on earth make mistakes. its wether you are alive after such mistakes that makes a difference.

Call of Duty 4 on PC?!

Everyone I know plays it on console

This just proves to me that gamers are very smart people.

Brownies for all! *Activates Brownie Fountain*

@ mottom22,

He stated that the nuclear background in his house doubled. That's nothing, I live (like one of the commentors here, Soldat Louis I think) in Brittany. The rock under us is granit. The average radioactivity here is twice what you would get in, say, Paris, or London.

That's no threat. What is a threat is called panic mongering. See Greenpeace, they started out with noble objectives but now...

Also, I think you might be amused to know that the wave of cancers in Western Europe associated with some events linked to the plot of STALKER happens to have started before the actual accident. It's not genetic premonition, it's progress in cancer detection.


You typically have to feed it back into the grid. Actually it may also have something to do with zoning laws.

Part of the issue is zoning laws. 2 houses can't share the same power tap because of the zoning. However a group of town houses can. Large apartment building can have individual metering or the whole building metering.

Sometimes you will see neighborhoods forming co-ops to get better deals on power, they collectively pay, then give everyone access to the same pool. This actually becomes a necessity in some more rural areas.

@Sly fox

You can make a nuke with uranium. You can also make it with plutonium, and weapons grade plutonium.

The higher the grade the less of the material you need for a bomb.

Quite frankly, its not that damn hard to make a nuke. It won't be elegant, clean, compact, high yield, or guaranteed to work. The best part is, if it doesn't work you have a plain old dirty bomb, which is nasty on its own.

There are different types of radiation. The type that you could detect in a banana, soil, or water is NOT the same kind that results from nuclear fission. I'm talking alpha, beta, and gamma radiation...if someone already mentioned this...sorry, but I was too lazy to read all of the posts...

Can anyone in Texas try to dig more into this story? Trying to find out if it was Paul Allen Panks, video gaming nutball extraordinaire.

I can only lol at this story as it's kinda humorous to me :p.

Can someone please clear something up for me. COD:4 was just released correct or no? I have it so, I just wanted to make sure. From WarOtters post, what wiki said this was back in 94'. COD:4 was out then.

@ guy with no name

yea it doubled, but he wasn't done. you don't know the guy do you? have you hung out with him? does he have the training? does he have back ups to ensure saftey? I doubt you know ANY of this, and neither do I. so why risk having a guy who may or may not mess a whole lot of shit up. would he stop just knowing he can? or will he keep going to see how much he can do? I know the rise in cancer rate is also related to the rise in cancer detection, just like the rise in STD's and the rise in drugs. you are just hearing about it more. but this is something no one person should be doing on their own. he even said it himself that it is something that should be done in a university with people. he just seemed to do it for shits and giggles it seems. do I know that for sure? no. do you know that for sure? no. but why risk it all because he may or may not be an ok guy.

I hate it when people scream foul when police/fbi barge into someones place because of probable cause and a warrent. even this guy said they were only doing their job and he was ok with it. that kinda shows he may be an ok guy, but before this happened would anyone have known that for sure? probably not. so, again, why risk such a thing that may effect people living around him?

Sorry, wrong info. For post above. I thought WarOtter was talking about this guy.

E. Zachary Night:

It is not always true that one cannot sell the excess power to the state. Several states have laws that require the re-purchase of excess power at precisely the cost that private users pay. Most have a grid-tie meter that can run backwards. While most of your statements were true, it is legal to produce your own fuel for your own use that is not transported, sold or used to power machinery that travels on public roads. This means that you can make biodiesel for use in your home furnace or your farm's tractors but not for your truck which is licensed to run on the roads unless you pay taxes on the fuel which is still much cheaper than paying for it at the pumps.

Well there is Toshiba's Micro Nuclear Reactor... just search any engine for it. it will be COMMERcially available to anyone soon.

Well there is Toshiba’s Micro Nuclear Reactor… just search any engine for it. it will be COMMERcially available to anyone soon.
You mean this thing?

It sure would be nice to only have to pay roughly $50/year for a self-sustaining electrical supply... but what are the chances any municipality in the nation lets you put one in? Heck, many places don't even let you install geothermal heat pumps without a special hard-to-get license.

It's like a license to own a 50 cal. rifle. Sure you can legally get one, but good luck finding anyone who will give you one.

@ mottom22,

I am anonymous, it doesn't look like it means anything but it does.

It simplifies things. Call me anonymous rather than a paraphase please, it works better for post referal.

And about your complaints:

"They're just doing their job," the man said. "That's their job to come and check on stuff like that. When they left, it had been deemed that, you know, everything was within reason."

That about sums it up.

@ anonymous

Yes, it does. he says they were doing their job. they found out it was within reason at that time. would i have not wanted them to check on it? no. You qouting what he said is what i already stated. i don't view this as fear mongering. i view it as someone who said they were doing something they probably shouldn't have. they checked it out, it was ok but it was good to make sure. take the thing away he shouldn't really have in the first place, to which he admits, end of story. no harm done. I just meant i wouldn't want them to just brush it off all because they don't know he knows what he is doing. I had no complaints, just to those who think this was wrong of them to check up on. it was well within reason to, it was their job to, as you qouted, the end.

This amuses me as Thompson has stated that Gamers are stupid to the level of not being able to understand basic English. Okay Thompson, we expect you to build your nuclear reactor soon. The clock is ticking. You don't want to show that you are dumber than a gamer now do you?
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Goth_SkunkI've been playing TERA all day. Just took a break to barbecue some chicken. :3 And Andrew: I'm using Cabal to suggest a group of people secretly united in some private views or interests within a community.07/31/2015 - 8:50pm
Andrew EisenI'd love to but I'm at work. But once I get home... I'm going to work out for a while. But after THAT... I'm going to shower. Then eat. Then prep tomorrow's meals. And THEN play video games! YEAH!!!07/31/2015 - 8:38pm
Big Permlol, ya'll are still going back and forth? Take a break and play some video games07/31/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenGoth - Are you using "cabal" to describe a group of writers or to suggest they all worked together in secret to publish those articles?07/31/2015 - 8:30pm
Andrew EisenMatt - That doesn't disprove the general premise of the various articles as that's not what they're about. Unless, again, he's talking about a different batch of articles.07/31/2015 - 8:28pm
Goth_SkunkThe difference between one voice being offensive and a cabal being offensive.07/31/2015 - 8:22pm
MechaCrashFunny how "you're offended, so what" flips into "we're offended, retract everything and apologize."07/31/2015 - 8:18pm
MattsworknameIts not the only argument he points out ,its just one of them07/31/2015 - 8:06pm
Mattsworknameidea that Gamers as the articel puts it, the "White male sterotype are dead, essentially was compltely false07/31/2015 - 8:03pm
MattsworknameThe video actually shows that the shaw study actually disproves the Premise of the artices by showing that the "Gamer" dentity, has no actual meaning to thsoe who use it other then "I play games", its not connected to race, gender, or orientation. So the07/31/2015 - 8:01pm
Andrew EisenWith the exception of a brief mention in Golding's Tumbr post. Even so, he's talking about gamer identity, not desire for diversity in gaming.07/31/2015 - 7:50pm
Andrew EisenI'm not calling his examination of the Shaw study into question. I haven't read the study nor seen his video. All I'm saying is that it has nothing to do with the Gamers Are Dead articles I've been referencing for the last year.07/31/2015 - 7:49pm
MattsworknameSome times sargon just goes off on tangents but in this case he was pretty direct and went through teh research in detail, did the whole first video about the shaw study itself07/31/2015 - 7:45pm
Andrew EisenWell, unless it's disingenuous twaddle but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.07/31/2015 - 7:42pm
Andrew EisenGotta be. The argument you describe makes no sense otherwise.07/31/2015 - 7:40pm
MattsworknameThat is a possibility, they looked like offical articles but its possible they are different from the articles you mentoin07/31/2015 - 7:28pm
Andrew EisenNot unless he's referring to a completely different set of Gamers Are Dead articles.07/31/2015 - 7:19pm
MattsworknameIT is possibel the articles aren't readily visable or no longer show up on the sites diretly, as over time they might have been shuffled around to get them outta teh spot lights07/31/2015 - 7:18pm
MattsworknameThe video proves otherwise andrew, the links to shaws research are in the articles themselves07/31/2015 - 7:17pm

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