Teen Builds Nuclear Reactor, Booted From Science Fair
... on a technicality
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2013 11:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – Wyoming's Conrad Farnsworth has done something maybe 60 people around the world have managed to do: achieve nuclear fusion. Which is to say, he built a nuclear reactor in his father's garage, reports the Casper Star-Tribune. Not bad for a high school student, though his feat is actually old news. The new news is that the 18-year-old got disqualified from an international high school science competition this month because of an obscure technicality.

As the Star-Tribune explains, Farnsworth competed in two state fairs—one in Wyoming and the other in neighboring South Dakota—to try to qualify for Intel's annual competition in Arizona. (That's one too many, according to the rules, which neither Farnsworth nor his teachers were aware of.) So while Farnsworth did indeed make it to Arizona, the director of his own state's science fair informed officials there of the horrible misdeed. He got disqualified before getting a chance to make his demonstration. Which means no prize for the reactor-building student. And, incidentally, no renewed contract for that Wyoming science fair director.

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Jun 15, 2013 8:43 PM CDT
He could work in China for Westinghouse. I'm serious as China has committed to purchasing 400 new water cooled 1000Mw reactors from Westinghouse. They are completely fabricated at an assembly plant and then shipped to the site for assembly like an erector set. They are fully standardized and reactor 1 will use the same parts as reactor 400. The funny thing about this is that Lockheed/Martin is designing the digital control system. The system they use stores a large water tank above the reactor and water convection does most of the circulation. If everything shuts down around the reactor, like in Japan, the reactor can sit alone with no detrimental effects for three days. Then all you really have to do to mitigate a melt down is to refill the reservoir above the reactor. China has no trouble with expended fuel as they just find some place to bury it and be done with it.
Jun 3, 2013 9:11 PM CDT
Are you not suppose to have uranium, or plutonium to have one of these things work and if so were in the hell would an 18 year old get this stuff from.
Jun 2, 2013 3:00 PM CDT
If only GWB could fly down on a fighter plane and land at the science fair declaring, "Mission Accomplished." No Child Left Behind is a total success. Lets not give up yet. Maybe he will in a couple days. Take that you socialist Icelanders.