Swede arrested for building nuclear reactor in his kitchen

By David Edwards
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 14:30 EDT
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A Swedish man was arrested last month after authorities discovered that his effort to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen had ended with a small meltdown.

Richard Handl told The Associated Press Wednesday that he had obtained radium, americium and uranium, but the attempt split atoms had only been a hobby.

Most of the radioactive elements came from common items like smoke detectors and old clock hands, which were bought on eBay. He also purchased a Geiger counter from the U.S. by mail order.

Handl blogged about his efforts, including the “meltdown” that took place on his stove in May.

“A meltdown on my cooker!!!” he wrote. “No, it not so dangerous. But I tried to cook Americium, Radium and Beryllium in 96% sulphuric-acid, to easier get them blended. But the whole thing exploded upp (sic) in the air…”

After suspecting that the enterprise might not be legal, Handl queried Sweden’s Radiation Authority.

“Wednesday, I was arrested and sent to jail, when the police and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authory searched my apartment,” he explained. “I was ordered by the police to get out of the building with my hands up, then three men came, with geiger-counters and searched me.”

“So, my project is canceled!”

In 2010, Gucci fashion designer Mark Suppes successfully built a $40,000 fusion reactor in a warehouse in Broklyn. He was the 38th independent “fusioneer” hobbyist in the world to achieve nuclear fusion.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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