Current Magazine

Swedish Police Arrest Man for Trying to Split Atoms in His Kitchen

Posted on the 04 August 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Swedish police arrest man for trying to split atoms in his kitchen

Swedish police arrested a man after it became clear that he was attempting to create a nuclear reactor in his home in coastal Ängelholm, Sweden. Richard Handl was in possession of radioactive radium, americium and uranium, which he was using to try to split atoms in his own kitchen.

Though Handl blogged openly about his activities at RichardsReactor.blogspot, they only came to the attention of the Swedish authorities when he wrote to the Swedish Radiation Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten) to question the legality of his actions. They informed him someone would come to measure the radiation – he had been, he said, measuring radiation levels using a Geiger counter  and hadn’t detected any – but instead sent a police team who arrested Handl for possession of unauthorised nuclear material. He was later released from custody, but could serve up to two years in prison, if convicted, or face fines.

“From now on, I will stick to the theory,” Richard Handl said after his arrest.

  • Just a hobby. The Associated Press reported that Handl only acted out of scientific curiosity. “I have always been interested in physics and chemistry,” Handl said, adding he just wanted to “see if it’s possible to split atoms at home.” Peter Vinthagen Simpson writing in Swedish newspaper The Local, noted that Handl wasn’t interested in making a nuclear reactor at home – in order to generate electricity, he would have needed a few more parts. In fact, Handl only sank about $950 into the whole experiment, though since police confiscated his equipment, it’s unlikely he’ll be seeing any of that money back again.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog