Radioactive Boy Scout
June 26, 1995 - This was the day that the EPA declared a backyard shed in Golf Manor, Michigan as a Superfund site. A hazmat crew rolled into the suburban address and carefully dismantled a workspace that had been used by a 17-year-old Eagle Scout to create a primitive nuclear reactor. The boy's name was David Hahn, but he is often referred to as the "Radioactive Boy Scout."
The young man's quest for nuclear power had begun years before as he started collecting samples of every single element in the periodic table. For the tricky radiocative ones, Hahn harvested small amounts from everyday household items, like americium from smoke detectors and radium from clocks. His actual reactor was a hollowed-out chunk of lead. Thankfully it never achieved critical mass, but despite the primitive resources Hahn did succeed in generating an incredibly high level of radiation. Hahn and his neighbors' exposure was well over 1000 times stronger than normal background radiation.
Long before the feds figured out what was going on, Hahn's geiger counter started chirping a block away from his house. He knew he had to start scaling back his "research." Right around that same time he got busted for loitering. A search of his car uncovered some alarming evidence of radioactive materials and plans to assemble some kind of a nuclear device. A later search of his home uncovered the much larger scale of the potential disaster.
Amazingly, Hahn got off with little more than a slap on the wrist. All traces of this glowing potting shed were bundled away in containers, then shipped to Utah for permanent storage in a nuclear waste dump.