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Swedish Man Attempts To Split Atoms At Home


STOCKHOLM, Sweden ~ (RT.com/ AP) ~ A Swedish enthusiast of nuclear science was arrested after he tipped himself off about creating a nuclear reaction in his kitchen.

31-year-old Richard Handl told the Associated Press, after he was released from court on August 4th, that he was only conducting the scientific experiments as a hobby. "I have always been interested in physics and chemistry," Handl said, and talked about how he tried for months to set up a nuclear reactor in his home. After he performed an experiment on his kitchen stove, which melted and caused a small explosion, he sent a letter to the Swedish Radiation Authority, asking if what he had done was legal.

The letter made the authorities suspicious, and they raided Handl's apartment in southern Sweden ion late July. They didn't detect hazardous levels of radiation but inside they found a stash of beryllium, americium and uranium for which the police arrested him on a charge of unauthorized possession of nuclear material; if convicted he could face up to two years in jail. The elements were in a solution of 96% sulphuric acid and had been obtained by breaking open smoke detectors which contain tiny amounts. Handl said he's now abandoning his nuclear projects but now has a new hobby: collecting stories about his exploits.

Handl is one of about three dozen nuclear enthusiasts worldwide who have succeeded in producing a fission reaction at home. One of the most well-known was American David Hahn, who in 1994 attempted to build a breeder nuclear reactor and managed to make some progress with the project. Hahn was 17 at the time and was dubbed "the radioactive boy scout" by the news media. Handl's blog pointed to Hahn as one of the people who inspired him to pursue his project.

Photo credit: Richard Handl's blog/AP

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