1. Richard Handl said he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his flat in southern Sweden when the police showed up. He said on Wednesday he had always been interested in physics and chemistry and “just wanted to see if it was possible to split atoms at home”.
2. Handl kept a blog about his experiments, describing how he created a small meltdown on his stove. Only later did he realise it might not be legal and sent a question to Sweden’s radiation authority, which sent the police. Detectives have declined to comment on the raid, which took place in late July. If convicted Handl could face fines or up to two years in prison.
3. Police and government officials showed up at his apartment in Angelholm, measured for radiation and confiscated all of his materials. He had scavenged radium from old clock hands and americium from household smoke detectors, obtained thorium from a Coleman gas-lantern mantle and bought depleted U-238 from a U.S. supplier. “When they came they had the police with them. I have had a Geiger counter and have not detected a problem with radiation,” Handl said.
4. The experiment began in mid-May, and he blogged about it. Here’s how he introduced his stove-top nuclear stuffings: “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. I would be a breeder reactor, and my primary goals is to carry out two main reactions …” A week later he wrote about “The Meltdown” on his electric stove, when a heated mixture of americium, radium and beryllium in sulphuric acid exploded as he tried to blend them. See the results, which he called “not so dangerous.”
5. Handl says police released him after questioning. He but that he is “still suspect for crime against the radiation safety law,”
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