Feeds

Alaska man plans 20-ton domestic cyclotron

Locals none too happy

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A 55-year-old Alaska man has met determined local resistance to his plan to assemble a 20-ton nuclear particle accelerator in his Anchorage home, Wired reports.

Albert Swank Jr - who runs an engineering firm from his house - built his first domestic cyclotron when he was 17. He now wants to upgrade to a meatier Scandiatronix MC16, donated by Johns Hopkins University. Lawmakers, however, have moved swiftly to ban the use of cyclotrons in domestic businesses. Health officials have also suspended Swank's permit to operate nuclear particle accelerators.

The Scandiatronix MC16 is used to brew up radioactive material which is injected into people prior to cancer-seeking positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Swanks says he wants the cyclotron as a "community medical resource". He added that his father died of cancer and his planned facility comes from a desire to "not see other cancer patients suffer".

Most locals are not impressed. Their concerns range from potential radioactive leaks, to the beast draining all of the electricity supply. Attorney Alan Tesche said: "We in Alaska embrace technology, and we love it - but we would like to see this in a hospital or industrial area, where it belongs. We don't need cyclotrons operating out of back alleys, or in someone's garage."

Swank says the cyclotron is completely safe, a view endorsed by Roger Dixon of the Fermi National Accelerator laboratory: "Cyclotrons are not nuclear reactors. Probably the worst thing that could happen with small cyclotrons is that the operator might electrocute themselves."

Swank says he will dismantle the cyclotron at its current home, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, on 23 January, then ship it to Alaska by lorry and barge - whether he has a permit or not. The powers that be plan an emergency public meeting on 20 December to decide the matter.

And Swank does have some support. His next-door neighbour of 36 years, Veronica Martinson, told Wired: "Albert was a star science student when he was a child. He wants schoolchildren to be around this, so they'll learn how this works, and be curious about physics. One of them might turn out to be our next big scientist." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.