Dutiful journalists ran the idea by scientists, who were dubious that the scheme could destroy city blocks, as Grecula claimed. (The fact that Grecula was nutty doesn’t mean he was original, by the way. The idea of a light-activated hydrogen-chlorine engine appears to be first imagined by Robert Scragg of West Virginia.)
Result: Grecula, who pleaded innocent, has been in jail since May of 2005. New charges have recently been added to his indictment.
Now, over in the United Kingdom, three suspects were recently let go after a British court rejected claims that they broke the law when they allegedly attempted to buy something called red mercury, a nasty substance rumored to be, among other things, fuel for a dirty bomb. The best thing about red mercury, however, is it doesn’t exist. And the whole plot was set up by a tabloid hoping to score an expose of terrorism.