Fusion boy – 13 year old builds nuclear reactor

A teenager from Lancashire has become the youngest person in the world to build a nuclear fusion reactor. Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of nuclear power but it’s a […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A teenager from Lancashire has become the youngest person in the world to build a nuclear fusion reactor.

Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of nuclear power but it’s a long way off from becoming a large-scale energy source.

Jamie Edwards, 13, a student at Penwortham Priory Academy in Preston built the reactor just days before his next birthday.

He stole the record off American Taylor Wilson who built a reactor in 2008, aged 14.

The pupil who describes himself as a “fusioneer” said he was “ecstatic” to have achieved nuclear fusion in his school lab. That’s the moment when two atoms of hydrogen smash together to make helium known as a ‘star in a jar’. Head teacher Mr Hourigan and science teacher Mrs Honeyman were on hand to witness the crucial event.

Edwards wrote on his blog last Thursday: “Yesterday I successfully achieved fusion at 11:30 am, this was brilliant! I am waiting from fusor.net for conformation that I have actually done fusion but looking at the results I am almost certain I have.”

Schoolboy Jamie Edwards with his completed reactor. Image: Matt Dever
Schoolboy Jamie Edwards with his completed reactor. Image: Matt Dever

His school said there have been stringent health and safety checks along the way, carried out by R&B Switchgear, Manchester University and several of the staff, along with Jamie and fellow pupil George Barker, went to Westinghouse Springfields Fuels Ltd for a risk assessment and safety course.