Here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal with a startling title: Nuclear Ambitions: Amateur Scientists Get a Reaction From Fusion. It focuses on amateur researchers who have built their own fusion reactors.
Their fusion reactors, or fusors, aren’t used for power generation. That’s because a fusor consumes more energy than it produces. Fusors have been used commercially as neutron sources, but the interest among these researchers seems to be improving the device itself.
I am amazed that so many people would have the dedication necessary to build such an unusual device. I’m also amazed that fusors haven’t been banned by authorities frightened by the idea of a homemade nuclear reactor. In reality, the dangers would be limited to the extremely high voltages used and the possible production of x-rays.
If you’re interested, there are a number of web pages devoted to the topic, including Fusion is Easy and Fusor. Thanks to Scott Haley for the pointer.