Friday, December 01, 2006

Polonium Everywhere

What a mess. It makes you wonder about the person or persons that moved the Po-210. They certainly seemed to have had a lack of control with it. I can understand the traces coming from Litvinenko as his body excreted it through the skin, but the detection of the contamination on several planes sounds odd.
Britain is monitoring a Russian plane and three British aircraft in an ever-widening probe into the death from radiation poisoning of a former Russian spy that has heightened tensions with Moscow.

Other planes may need to be tracked, Home Secretary John Reid told parliament as he pledged there would be no political barriers to the police investigation.

Reid said police had found radioactive traces at 12 out of 24 locations being checked in connection with the death of Alexander Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But he didn't say whether the element found was polonium-210.
The Russian's contention that you can't by Polonium illegally is also odd.
Russian nuclear energy chief stated officially that a radioactive element of Polonium 210 which had caused death of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko could not be obtained illegally in Russia, the Reuters news agency reported Friday.
Yeah, I bet you can't buy anything illegally in Russia.
The head of Russia’s state atomic energy agency Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, told the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta that Russia produces only 8 grams of Polonium 210 a month. “All this amount goes to U.S. companies through a single authorised supplier, Tekhsnabexport company,” the newspaper quoted Kiriyenko as saying.

Kiriyenko refused to say how polonium was produced, but said nuclear reactors like the Russian RMBK or the Canadian CANDU were needed to make it.

“In Russia all nuclear reactors, including those used for research, are government property tightly controlled by federal authorities,” he said.
Well, I feel relieved that the source wasn't Russia. With those tight controls there can't be any way that the contamination on the planes used between Moscow and London could have come from Russia. Wonder who in Great Britain is producing the stuff?

Another Russian poisoned:
Scientists probing the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko said on Friday a second man had been poisoned by radiation.

Media reports said the man was Mario Scaramella, an Italian contact whom Litvinenko met at a London sushi restaurant on November 1, the same day he fell ill.

"We are confirming that one further person who was in direct contact with Mr Litvinenko has been found to have a significant quantity of polonium 210 in their body. This is being investigated further in hospital," a spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said.

Police and health authorities declined to confirm the man was Scaramella.

Polonium 210 is the same radioactive isotope that poisoned Litvinenko, who died a slow and agonising death in a London hospital last month.

A lawyer representing Scaramella told Reuters he was awaiting for final results before making any comments. He declined to explain Scaramella's earlier statements that he was not contaminated, saying the tests were "complex".

I'm guessing it is Scaramella, but if not, could it be the poisoner?

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