Thursday, December 07, 2006

Polonium: The Terrorists' Perfect WMD? by Andrew Cochran

The disclosure that seven workers at the Millennium Hotel, where former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko met a contact on the day he fell ill, have tested positive for low levels of polonium further expands the serious consequences of the investigation into Alexander Litvinenko murder.

A former KGB who met with Alexander Litvinenko in London has fallen into a coma from contact with a radioactive substance. A reader who graduated from M.I.T. wrote me recently with the following information on polonium:

"Polonium 210 can be manufactured in any small research reactor such as those found in universities around the world. The single poisoning seems to me to be a wakeup call that polonium 210 is probably the best WMD in the world. Wikipedia gives the lethal dose as 0.1 micrograms, think of a Vitamin C tablet divided into 10 million pieces. When dissolved in mild acid, such as is in the gut, a lethal dose will produce about 10 trillion atoms which tend to permeate the body and leak out of the pores. If divided and encapsulated (think time release capsule) a small amount of polonium 210 could be weaponized to float on the breeze like anthrax, it would be undetectable, indestructible and any residue would lose potency after just a few years."

Polonium poisoning is described as an unprecedented event. Polonium is available for purchase through the internet.

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