Man Arrested While Trying to Build Nuclear Reactor in His Kitchen

Richard Handl posted his experiments on the Internet

A Swedish man was arrested after he tried to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen and documented his efforts on the Internet, authorities and the man said on Thursday.

Richard Handl, 31, from Angelholm in southern Sweden, gathered materials including smoke detectors, clock and watch hands via purchases on the Internet.

“I was just curious to see if it was possible, it is just a hobby,” said Handl, currently unemployed but previously a worker in a ventilation systems factory.

He documented his efforts on a blog and his Facebook page.

He got as far as mixing some ingredients on a cooker – americum, radium, beryllium and 96 per cent sulphuric acid. “The boiling explosion was about 3 or 4 months ago and the police came two weeks ago,” he said.

After the incident, which he tagged ‘The Meltdown’ on his blog, he said he “cleaned up the mess on the cooker and then I bought some more radium and continued the experiment.”

The Radiation Safety Authority said in a statement the authorities raided Handl’s flat on July 20 after hearing that he was handling nuclear materials in an unsafe way.

“There were no raised levels of radiation in the apartment and the neighbours were not exposed to radiation,” research chief Leif Moberg said in the statement.

Handl reported the raid laconically on his website, writing “Project cancelled!”

He was detained and shortly after freed. “I am still a suspect for crime against the radiation safety law,” he said.