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Swede speaks out about kitchen nuclear reactor

AFP/The Local · 5 Aug 2011, 09:26

Published: 05 Aug 2011 09:26 GMT+02:00

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Richard Handl, 31, from Ängelholm municipality in southwestern Sweden, said police had briefly detained him at the end of July for attempting to build a nuclear reactor in the kitchen of his flat.

He had meant no harm and had started the project as a hobby, he told AFP.

"I have always been interested in nuclear physics and particle physics," he said.

In May, he launched an English-language blog, "Richard's Reactor" in which he charted his progress in the project, complete with picture.

His plan, he said, was "to build a working nuclear reactor. Not to gain electricity, just for fun and to see if it's possible to split atoms at home."

Just to make sure everything was above board, he sent an email to Sweden's Radiation Safety Authority.

"Hi! I'm really interested in nuclear physics and radiation," he wrote.

"As a hobby, I have ... gathered the basic materials (and) planned a project to build a very primitive nuclear reactor. You can see my plans here," he added, complete with a link to his blog.

"I'm now wondering if I am breaking a law with this," he asked in the email, a copy of which he forwarded to AFP.

At that point, his experiment came to an abrupt end.

Two days later "the police and the radiation safety authority came to my apartment," Handl said.

He wrote in his blog: "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."

Police questioned him for about half an hour, before releasing him, he told AFP.

The radiation authority confirmed in a statement that it had conducted a search of a private residence on July 20.

Story continues below…

"The authority seized the radiative material that was in the apartment and forbade the person to handle radioactive materials," it added.

But they had not detected high levels of radiation in the apartment and neighbours had not been exposed to radiation.

On his blog however, Handl wrote that he "was still suspected of a crime against the radiation safety law."

"So, my project is canceled!" he lamented.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:18 August 5, 2011 by Nemesis
If I ever meet this guy, I will buy him a beer.

Sounds like a Swede would be interesting to talk to. Of course that would be from behind a lead shield.

I listened to an interview with Richard Handl on the radio. Sounds like he is just a bit nuts, but in a mostly harmless way.

I will be very suprised if he does not show up in a hospital with Beryllium poisoning at some point. That element is very dangerous to work with as well as being severely restricted for use in most countries.
11:37 August 5, 2011 by this_aint_sparta
as far as i studied in school, atoms needs to be make spin at a very very very high speed for it to split and thats the basic hurdle, wonder how was he doing it, whats his blog?
11:49 August 5, 2011 by Yea!!
thanks God he wasn't a Muslim. otherwise he would be termed as a terrorist. what a SICK world is this .....
12:35 August 5, 2011 by conboy

what difference does it make if he was a muslim or not? His experiment needed to be closed down regardless of his background for public safety purposes not least for his own protection jeez!
13:17 August 5, 2011 by Yea!!

You know what ma Puppy Buddy, i really love to laugh outta ma a** that how you avoid the facts sometimes .. :P
13:53 August 5, 2011 by BroX

google for richardsreactor on blogspot.

Be sure to check the entry in May on the melt-down he had on his kitchen stove...
15:27 August 5, 2011 by tuerd1982
1st time when I show about this news I am bit amazed but later when I listened BBC interview I got very different picture of him. Agree with Nemesis, he "Sounds like he is just a bit nuts". He looks doesn't have basic understanding of physics. To me, it looks he just doing this for kill time and got a fame.
15:41 August 5, 2011 by conboy
Excellent post YEA "that how you avoid the facts sometimes" Your post was a bit of a baadly formulated OVERREACTOR methinks!
15:46 August 5, 2011 by Swed2k
16:03 August 5, 2011 by Yea!!
YEA!!!!... cowboy.. you have the right to overreact and make fun of us when something like this happens and NOT Me. WHAT A SICK WORLD IS THIS ...:/
16:21 August 5, 2011 by Svensksmith
If a hillbilly goes on a holy way is it called a YeeHad?
16:34 August 5, 2011 by conboy
it could be described as a dose of "his ballas" or alternatively a dose of the Shiites who knows some of my best friends have nicknames like "Mecca!"
16:43 August 5, 2011 by shahidbutt
dangerous very dangerous i hope no one will get inspiration from this. this is crap i must say
17:21 August 5, 2011 by coolguy09
He should be sent to correction center or if HE is more than eager go work for releif in fukushima power plant and see what is the level of lethality in nuclear reactor. I think he should be forced to work in farm , herd cattles , work on lathe machine to make simple gassification system for biomass conversion (STILL CALL IT AS REACTOR) , for biodiesel. His energies should be directed to something cleaner, i request his blog to be deleted or shifted to cleaner safer energy
17:48 August 5, 2011 by captnemo
The cigarette butts on the stove (if indicative of his smoking while experimenting) are as dangerous to his health as the experiment itself.

20:49 August 5, 2011 by Whitehall
I'm a nuclear engineer in California. Looking at his blog, the guy had a way to make a VERY sub-critical assembly. He could have had a few dozen fissions a second which would hardly register on his instruments. It would not create a self-substaining nuclear chain reaction.

The "meltdown" with a chemical thing from playing with hot sulfuric acid - not smart at all.

I've got to admire his daring - risk-takers are what advance science and civilization. He could have done better background research though, especially on chemical safety.

Reminds me of the x-ray tube I tried to build when I was a kid. Sure glad it didn't!
00:57 August 6, 2011 by Coalbanks
Now if he had figured out a way to run domestic waste water through a turbine to generate electricity...
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