Swedish police have prevented what could either have been the birth of an outsider scientific genius or an unprecedented disaster.
My money, admittedly, is on the latter, with the arrest of 31-year-old Richard Handl, a science enthusiast who was trying to build the world’s first home-based nuclear reactor.
The arrest came after the police were alerted by Sweden’s Radiation Authority, who Handl had contacted upon realizing that perhaps it wasn’t entirely legal (or safe) to keep radium, americium and uranium in his apartment in order to conduct scientific experiments that included attempts to cause a small nuclear meltdown on his stove.
Facing charges of up to two years in prison, Handl told reporters that he just wanted to “see if it’s possible to split atoms at home,” saying, “I have always been interested in physics and chemistry… From now on, I will stick to the theory.” Swedish police refuse to comment on the arrest.
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.