By Sarah Hoffman/KCTS 9

In the basement of a quiet residential street in Federal Way, Washington, hides the ultimate home science experiment — a nuclear fusion reactor.

Microsoft IT manager Carl Greninger created Northwest Nuclear Laboratories, a space in his home for local high school students to conduct their own research projects on the device. The hope: to cultivate the next generation of nuclear scientists and problem solvers. The device is used to explore oncology, material science energy and quantum mechanics.

The bottom part of the reactor, ordered from NASA off of eBay, was used during the assembly of the Columbia space shuttle. Greninger and his students cleaned it, took it apart, had it painted at an auto body shop and brought it back to life. 

In this episode of Reinventors, host Katie Herzog visits Greninger’s home to find out more about his nuclear fusion reactor and what it’s like to have it in his basement.

ReInventors is produced by KCTS 9 and PBS Digital Studios. Each episode features scientists, inventors and tinkerers who are reimagining the basic elements of our everyday lives.

Copyright 2018, KCTS 9