Interview With the Kid Who Built a Nuclear Reactor in His Garage

I’ve known Taylor Wilson from a distance for several years, from a time many lifetimes ago when I was working as a journalist covering the nuclear power industry. He’s not a kid anymore, but when he was 14 years old Wilson decided to build a nuclear reactor in his parents’ home. Author Tom Clynes has written a book documenting that event, and I caught up with Wilson to talk about harnessing the atom before he’d gone to senior prom, our energy future and what he’s up to these days.

Denver: Okay Taylor, so tell me about how you came to the decision, “What I need to do today is build a nuclear fusion reactor in my garage?”

Taylor: I got into nuclear science when I was about 10 years old I was fascinated by the stuff. I was fascinated by the reactions and the power inside these atoms that we had the capability to unlock. And I started out on all these different experiments, and collecting radioactive materials, but you know at some point I realized I needed to — well, I wanted to make a nuclear reaction, and to do that it seemed like the simplest way would be to build a nuclear fusion reactor. So it just, you know, was something I decided I had to do. Took me a few years, but I eventually got fusion when I was 14.

Denver: Yeah when I built a nuclear reactor in my garage my parents were kind of upset about it. Were yours perturbed at all?

Taylor: No. I mean, you know, certainly that’s a leap of faith there, and at first when I settled into building a nuclear reactor they they were obviously concerned but it was just a —> Read More