What happens when you mix americium, radium, and beryllium in 96% sulphuric-acid? On a stovetop?

See query. I mean, I do know that energy unexpectedly can be (relatively) violently released, and you shouldn’t drink any beverages or take medicine which were placed nearby.

In Richard Handl’s lab work, did it explode and then melt, or simply melt down dramatically? (I’m not sure if the stovetop was simply a useful table surface or if he heated whatever container the concoction was in.)

More specifically, can anyone recreate a likely scenario of the chemistry involved, given the bare naming of the elements and molecules involved?

Also, besides being heated up, were the pills and refreshing drink no longer healthy to ingest?

Note to Mods and any interested Dept of Homeland Security personnel dropping by: scientific questions only, not practical ones.

You do know what happened to Madame Curie, right?

Even her notebooks are kept in lead-lined boxes…

As for dissolving various metals in concentrated sulphuric acid, I assume there was an exothermic reaction accompanied by the release of hydrogen gas, which can certainly explode when mixed with air at a certain concentration.

ETA whatever happened to nice home experiments like boiling red cabbage leaves?

A “meltdown” (as one word, in the nuclear context) has a specific meaning:

It seems unlikely that he had enough material that any nuclear processes sufficient to make anything very hot ever occurred, or the contamination would probably have been severe. Some time later, Handl still lived (and may still live) in the same house with the same stove, see Jon Ronson’s interview:

(Jon Ronson’s book is very funny and well worth reading, as are all his books. He investigates bizarre people and events with deadpan British humor. He reads them himself on the audiobook versions, which adds something.)

The explosion was probably chemical, as DPRK suggests.