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Swede caught trying to build nuclear reactor in kitchen

“I tried to cook Americium, Radium and Beryllium in 96% sulphuric-acid, to easier get them blended. But the whole thing exploded upp in the air," Handl wrote in his blog.

People find chemistry fascinating, but how many science enthusiasts actually take it up as a hobby and try splitting atoms? A Swedish man not only went for it but also attempted to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen.

Richard Handl could have succeeded, had he not sought advice from authorities about the legality of his project and got caught.

Tried building nuclear reactor 'just for fun'
The 31-year-old Angelholm resident started working on building a nuclear reactor in mid-May.

Handl got all the radioactive elements like radium, americium and uranium from overseas and from a domestic fire alarm. He even arranged a Geiger counter from the United States.

Though Handl has been released after a hearing, he is still suspected “for crime against the radiation safety law.” If convicted, he might face two years imprisonment.

The science enthusiast was not at all secretive about his project. In fact, he maintained a blog, 'Richard's Reactor, chronicling his progress on the experiment.

“My project is to build a working nuclear reactor. Not to gain electricity, just for fun and to see if it's possible to split atoms at home,” reads his first post on the blog.

A week later, Handl wrote about what he called "Meltdown” on his cooker.

“I tried to cook Americium, Radium and Beryllium in 96% sulphuric-acid, to easier get them blended. But the whole thing exploded upp in the air...”

Project canceled
Well, the frank disclosure about the meltdown on kitchen stove didn't alert authorities.

In fact, the amateur scientist was detained only when it dawned on him that perhaps his nuclear reactor project was illegal, and he made a friendly call to the Swedish Radiation Authority to seek their advice.

Soon the authorities responded by sending the police who confiscated all the material including smoke detectors, clock, and explosive chemicals, and arrested Handl.

“Wednesday, I was arrested and sent to jail, when the police and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authory searched my apartment. They took all my radioactive stuff,” he wrote in July 22 post.

Though Handl has been released after a hearing, he is still suspected “for crime against the radiation safety law.” If convicted, he might face two years imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the authorities have confirmed that there “no raised levels of radiation in the apartment and the neighbors were not exposed to radiation.”