potting shed two decades ago and shut down a neighborhood of 40,000 in
* Says the $60,000 clear up and burying his ‘glowing shed’ in the
desert was just ‘a total overreaction’
* Arrested in 2007 for stealing 27 smoke detectors to use for radioactive parts
* Still researching today, he vows his experiments are ‘all on paper’
* Dreams of creating a lightbulb that glows for 100 years using
* He tells MailOnline: ‘I think I’ve caused a little chaos but I
haven’t left a scratch yet’
* David Hahn lays his research papers out on the dusty coffee table in
his Michigan home; documents about the speed of light, genetic code,
anti-gravity research and time travel.
* He says, ‘My experiments are all on paper these days, but I still
like to keep abreast of what’s going on today.’
* He speaks with the air of a retired academic. But David is not an
academic, not exactly. And he is not, worryingly for some, retired.
* Two decades ago David was propelled into the public eye as ‘The
Radioactive Boy Scout’. Part boy genius, part dangerous misfit, at 17,
he built a nuclear reactor in his mother’s potting shed.
* Today, in an interview with MailOnline, David admits: ‘Look, there
may have been a few safety issues.’
* ‘But,’ he insists: ‘the whole $60,000 Superfund clear up was a total
over-reaction. I was just building a model nuclear reactor and I never
saw the shed glowing.’
* Scroll down for video
* Nuclear: David Hahn rose to notoriety in 1996 when neighbors
reported his ‘glowing potting shed’ where he had been trying to build
a nuclear reactor. He was also arrested in 2007, right, for stealing
27 smoke detectors. People at the time assumed the lesions on his face
were from exposure to radiation
* To this day, David believes the $60,000 cost of cleaning up his
experiment was an ‘over-reaction’ and said the shed never glowed. He
had been trying to earn his Boy Scout Atomic Energy merit badge
* This is David Hahn in a nutshell.
* Eighteen years ago, in a bid for a Boy Scout merit badge, David took
to his mother’s potting shed and built a breeder reactor. It became so
irradiated a neighbor claimed to have seen it glow.
* On June 26 1996 David’s boyish experiment shut down a neighborhood
of 40,000 residents.
* The process had been set in motion in November of the previous year
when David was arrested following reports that youths were stealing
tires in Clinton Township, Michigan.
* His car was searched and a toolbox of radioactive materials found.
Alarmed state radiological experts went onto search the potting shed
that he confessed to using as his laboratory.
* They found 1,000 times the amount of normal background radiation,
sealed it up and called in the Environmental Protection Agency.
* On that June morning in 1996 moon-suit wearing EPA agents dismantled
the potting-shed, sealed it up with David’s other materials, shipped
then to Utah and buried them in the desert.
* And today David just can’t see what all the fuss was about. He was
only building a model reactor. He never intended it to be Chernobyl.
* At 37, the dewy skin and clear unconcerned gaze of his youth have
gone. But it turns out that the man who pores over his scientific
research now is not so very changed from the teenage version of
* Where some might have taken the events of all those years ago as
sign to pack up their Bunsen burner, David’s enthusiasm for science
remains undiminished. He still wants to ‘break barriers.’
* His current ambition is to create a light bulb that will glow for
100 years. And he’s pretty sure it’s possible.
* It was David’s father, Kenneth’s idea that his son should join the
Boy Scouts back in 1994. He thought it would give him discipline and
* But where other boy scouts settled for learning survival skills –
how to make a fire by rubbing sticks together, how to build an igloo
or patch a bicycle tire puncture – David wanted more.
* He says, ‘I guess the way I looked at it is I just wanted to invent