Richard Handl began his experiment some six months ago and has reportedly been open about his plans to construct a nuclear reactor in his apartment in the small Swedish coastal town, maintaining a blog of his nuclear adventure.
Handl, who explained that his interest in nuclear physics was awakened as a teenager, ordered some radioactive material from overseas and acquired more by taking apart a domestic fire alarm.
Despite the Handl’s frank and full disclosure of his experiment, his activities only came to the attention of the authorities a couple of weeks ago when he contacted the Swedish Radiation Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten) to inquire if it was legal to construct a nuclear reactor at home.
Handl was told that somebody would be sent to measure the levels of radiation in his flat.
“When they came they had the police with them. I have had a Geiger counter and have not detected a problem with radiation,” he the local Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD) newspaper.
Handl was arrested by the police and taken in for questioning. He admitted to his plans and was later released.
He told the newspaper that had he succeeded in building a nuclear reactor, generating any power would probably have proved beyond him.
“To get it to generate electricity you would need a turbine and a generator and that is very difficult to build yourself,” he told HD.
Handl is reported to have spent around 6,000 kronor ($950) on his project and after all his equipment was seized in the raid, he has confirmed that in the future he intends to focus on the “theoretical” aspects of nuclear physics.