A young man in Angelholm, in the South of Sweden, has been arrested after apparently trying to create a nuclear reactor in his kitchen.
The young man’s story appears in Helsingsborgs Dagblad, a Swedish language local paper in the area.
The 31-year-old tells the paper that he was able to buy radioactive waste from foreign companies and picked apart the components in a smoke detector (apparently older smoke detector contain nuclear material). He believes he spent between $5,000 and $6,000 on the project in total.
It was only later when the young man contacted Sweden’s nuclear power agency that he realised his project was illegal. Police came to his apartment and confiscated the material. The young man was arrested but later released.
He told HD:
I’ve always been interested in nuclear physics and particle physics. I have read many books about it and wanted to see if it worked. I just thought of it as an experiment.
A little further digging finds some more information on the web – the young man had kept a blog that detailed his efforts. The blog, titled “Richard’s Reactor“, begins:
My project is 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.
One post shows the results of one of “Richard’s” attempts:
A meltdown on my cooker!!!
No, it not so dangerous. But I tried to cook Americium, Radium and Beryllium in 96% sulphuric-acid, to easier get them blended. But the whole thing exploded upp in the air…
Could “Richard” have created a nuclear reactor? The Swedish nuclear authority told HD that they doubt he could have succeeded.
“Richard” isn’t the first to try and create a homemade nuclear reactor.
In 1994, David Hahn, a 17 year old boy scout, attempted it in his mothers house and was eventually arrested. Hahn was later rearrested in 2007 after allegedly stealing a number of smoke detectors from the hall of his building. He appeared to have sores on his face that indicated exposure to radioactive materials.
“Richard” is aware of Hahn and makes of note of him on his blog. His judgment?
Yes, I know… He doesn’t look very great…
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