Gucci web developer builds working nuclear reactor

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Here at TG Daily, we consider it quite an achievement to put together a flat-pack table. We've obviously got to hone our DIY skills just a little more, though, if we're to compete with New Yorker Mark Suppes.

In a rented corner of a Brooklyn warehouse, Suppes is working on his very own nuclear reactor, and has already achieved fusion.

"I was inspired because I believed I was looking at a technology that could actually work to solve our energy problems, and I believed it was something that I could at least begin to build," Suppes told the BBC.

Nuclear fusion involves forcing atomic nuclei together, releasing energy. Currently, though, no fusion reactor has ever managed to create more energy than it uses in operation.

Because the device doesn't contain any radioactive materials - it uses boron and deuterium, a form of hydrogen - it's perfectly legal in the US.

Suppes has been working on his reactor for about two years, and has spent nearly $40,000 so far - mostly his own money, although he has raised a few thousand through donations.

The device doesn't bear Gucci's trademark entwined 'G's, and many of the parts were purchased second-hand on eBay.

Suppes is working from plans created by physicist Robert Bussard; the US Navy, as it happens, is working to the same model, albeit with a slightly larger budget.

Suppes is the 38th amateur to have achieved fusion with a home-made reactor - indeed, the one in our picture was built by a high school student. There's even a special website - fusor.net - devoted to hints and tips. Suppes is, naturally, a member.

The site's creators are at pains to stress that nuclear fusion is perfectly safe - unlike fossil fuels, they point out, given the current devastation in the Gulf of Mexico.