31-year-old Richard Handl tried to engage in nuclear fission at home using radioactive materials purchased on eBay. He blogged charmingly about his exploits via the site Richard’s Reactor before being detained by authorities. (At right is a “tiny nuclear meltdown” which occurred on his stove top.) The New York Times reports:
A Swedish man who was arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen said Wednesday he was only doing it as a hobby.
Richard Handl told The Associated Press that he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his apartment in southern Sweden when police showed up and arrested him on charges of unauthorized possession of nuclear material.
The 31-year-old Handl said he had 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.
Only later did he realize it might not be legal and sent a question to Sweden’s Radiation Authority, which answered by sending the police. “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.”