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Atom smashing as a kitchen hobby

A Swedish man has been arrested on charges of illegal possession of nuclear material after trying to split atoms in his kitchen.

Richard Handl said he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his apartment because he wanted to try nuclear fission as a hobby, then police showed up.

He said he had always been interested in physics and chemistry and "just wanted to see if it was possible to split atoms at home."

The 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.

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 realise it might not be legal and sent a question to Sweden's Radiation Authority, which answered by sending the police.

He said although police did not detect dangerous levels of radiation in his apartment, he now admits the project was not a good idea.

"From now on, I will stick to the theory," he said.

© Press Association