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Swede tried to split atoms - at home

Associated Press / August 4, 2011

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STOCKHOLM - A Swedish man who was arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen said yesterday he was only doing it as a hobby.

Richard Handl said 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.

Handl, 31, 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.

The police raid took place in late July, but police have refused to comment. If convicted, Handl could face fines or up to two years in prison.