August 5, 2011
Swedish Man Attempts Splitting Atoms In Kitchen As ‘Hobby’
Authorities said Thursday that a Swedish man was arrested after he tried splitting atoms in his kitchen as a hobby.
Richard Handl, a 31-year-old from Angelholm in southern Sweden, had materials like smoke detectors, clock and watch hands.
He said he tried for months to set up a nuclear reactor at home and kept a blog about his experiments, describing how he created a small meltdown on his stove.
"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.
Handl was mixing americium, radium, beryllium and sulphuric acid on a cooker.
"The boiling explosion was about 3 or 4 months ago and the police came two weeks ago," he said.
He said he "cleaned up the mess on the cooker and then I bought some more radium and continued the experiment," after the incident.
The Radiation Safety Authority said in a statement that authorities raided his flat on July 20 after hearing he was handling nuclear materials in an unsafe way.
"There were no raised levels of radiation in the apartment and the neighbors were not exposed to radiation," research chief Leif Moberg said in the statement.
Handl said on his website that his project was now canceled.
He said he was detained and was shortly freed after. "I am still a suspect for crime against the radiation safety law."
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