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David Charles Hahn (born October 30, 1976), also called the "Radioactive Boy Scout", is an American who attempted to build a homemade breeder nuclear reactor in 1994, at age 17. 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. While not successful in creating a nuclear reactor, Hahn attracted the attention of local police who found radioactive materials in the trunk of his car. His mother's property was cleaned up by the Environmental Protection Agency ten months later as a Superfund cleanup site. Hahn attained Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America prior to the creation of his reactor.
While the incident was not widely publicized initially, it became better known following a 1998 Harper's article by journalist Ken Silverstein. Hahn is also the eponymous subject of Silverstein's 2004 book, The Radioactive Boy Scout.
Hahn is an Eagle Scout who received a merit badge in Atomic Energy and spent years tinkering with basement chemistry which sometimes resulted in small explosions and other mishaps. He was inspired in part by reading The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, and tried to collect samples of every element in the periodic table, including the radioactive ones. Hahn diligently amassed this radioactive material by collecting small amounts from household products, such as americium from smoke detectors, thorium from camping lantern mantles, radium from clocks and tritium (as neutron moderator) from gunsights. His "reactor" was a large, bored-out block of lead, and he used lithium from $1,000 worth of purchased batteries to purify the thorium ash using a Bunsen burner.