Man who built nuclear reactor in kitchen 'had it under control'

A Swedish man has been arrested after trying to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen. Richard Handl blogged says he bought his radioactive materials on eBay.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway

A Swedish man who tried to construct a nuclear reactor in his kitchen says he "had it under control", after being questioned by police.

Richard Handl was curious to see whether or not he could split the atom at home, and blogged extensively about his DIY science. He was arrested after getting in touch with Sweden's Radiation Safety Authority to check whether what he was doing in his flat in Ängelholm was legal.

In an interview with the Beeb, 31-year-old Handl said he bought the necessary radioactive materials from eBay.

Handl's blog, charmingly titled 'Richard's Reactor', ran for several months, before he posted that the project had been cancelled because he'd been arrested.

"I was ordered by the police to get out of the building with my hands up, then three men came, with geiger counters, and searched me. Then I was placed in a police car, when Radiation Safety Authority went into my apartment with very advanced measure tools. So, my project is cancelled!"

One month prior, he'd written a blog entry titled 'The Meltdown' (we've borrowed his picture above) in which he describes how he tried to cook americium, radium and beryllium in 96 per cent sulphuric acid, "but the whole thing exploded up in the air."

Handl says he has always been interested in nuclear physics, but now he is going to focus on the theoretical side of science. He expects to receive a fine.

Image credit: Richard's Reactor