did Litvinenko die?
suffered a near-fatal heart attack on November 22nd
in University College Hospital in London and died the
next day. The doctors concluded that alpha radiation
from a lethal amount of Polonium 210 in his body
had brought about his death but no Coroner’s report
was issued officially establishing the cause of death.
What is a lethal dose of Polonium 210?
of a gram.
many times did Litvinenko ingest Polonium 210?
toxicology tests from the Litvinenko's autopsy reportedly
show two separate spikes in his radiation poisoning,
indicating that he swallowed Polonium 210 on two different
occasions about two weeks apart.
Is Polonium 210 a sure-fire poison?
Yes and No. Yes if a microgram of Polonium 210 is injected
intravenously into the blood stream. But not necessarily,
if it is ingested in food or a beverage. Unlike the
gamma particles from most other radioactive isotopes,
the alpha particles from Polonium 210 are too large
to go through the skin. The intestine wall also
blocks about 95 percent of these particles from getting
into the blood stream before they are expelled from
the body. So it is possible to ingest a microgram of
Polonium 210 and not die. In any case it is slow-acting–
Litvinenko lived for at least 3 weeks– and it
can be successfully treated with available antidotes.
Then why wasn't’t Litvinenko given
an antidote for Polonium 210 during the 3 weeks he was
in the hospital?
Litvinenko’s illness was ms-diagnosed as Thallium
poisoning.As a result, he was given the wrong antidote,
Prussian Blue. By the time, it was correctly diagnosed--
2 hours before he died-- it was too late to administer
a person accidentally ingest Polonium 210?
All five previous cases of fatal Polonium 210 poisoning
resulted from an accidental leak of Polonium 210 from
can Polonium 210 leak from a sealed container?
The alpha particles emanating from Polonium 210 produce
such an immense amount of heat as they bounce off the
walls of their container that in a few weeks a gram
of Polonium 210 can self-heat to 600 degrees Celsius.
That is why the Soviet Union planned to use Polonium
210 to heat its Lunar module. The self-heating property
also exerts pressure on its container and over time
can breach the seal.
Can a Polonium 210 leak spread?
As the Israeli leak of Polonium 210 showed, Polonium
particles attach themselves to dust, shoes, and clothing
fibers and can be carried over a wide area.
Is there evidence to support Scotland Yard’s
theory that his Russian associate Lugovoy
spiked his tea with Polonium 210 at the Pine Bar on
November 1st, 2006?
None that has been revealed. According to the Russian
prosecutors, Scotland Yard provided no evidence to support
the extradition request for Lugovoy in 2007.
Was the container in which the Polonium
210 was carried ever found?
Are there any witnesses who saw anyone put
anything in Litvinenko’s tea at the Pine Bar?
No, there are no such witnesses. The closest observer
of his tea was Litvinenko himself. However, Litvinenko
told his co-author that he had been poisoned in a Sushi
restaurant where he had gone to earlier for lunch that
day. Even a waiter who recalled the group in the Pine
Bar said that his view was blocked.
Do traces of Polonium 210 found in the Pine
Bar mean that Litvinenko was poisoned there?
No, it only means that someone who visited the Pine
Bar had previously been in contact with Polonium 210.
As three people at the Pine Bar on November 1st–
and Lugovoy, previously had been in contact with Polonium
210, anyone of them could have left the traces.
Is there reason to believe that Litvinenko
was a carrier of specks of Polonium 210 before he went
to the Pine Bar?
He met with Scaramella
for lunch at the Itsu Sushi before he went to the Pine
Bar and Scaramella then tested positive for Polonium
traces of Polonium 210 found in other places visited
Yes. Traces were found at Litvinenko’s home, the
offices of Erinys, where he consulted, the offices of
the offices of Raven International, the Hey Jo lap dance
club where he had a private cubicle, and two cars he
was the status of the possible crime scenes by the time
the police examined them?
were compromised. The police did not seal off access
to them until at least three weeks after Litvinenko
had fallen ill. These areas were repeatedly cleaned
and, in the case of the Pine Bar, walked through during
that 3-week interval.
Could British prosecutors reasonably expect
that Russia would comply with its June 2007 request
to extradite Lugovoy?
No. Not only is extradition proscribed by the Russian
Constitution, but Russia announced on December 5th 2006
that it would not comply.
Did the British include a Coroner’s
Report or any summary of evidence?
Is it true that Polonium 210 is available
over the Internet?
No. Not in a toxic quantity, Polonium
210 is made in Russian nuclear reactors by exposing
bismuth to U-235. Only about 100 grams are produced
each year. To keep it from leaking onto the black market,
the United States made an arrangement with Russia to
import almost all of its production to America. In the
US, under tight controls, the Polonium 210 is reduced
to traces amounts that contains less that one-ten billionth
of a gram which are then chemically bonded to plastic
or ceramic. It would be virtually impossible to extract
Polonium 210 in any toxic quantity from them.
Why is there concern about Polonium 210
reaching the black market?
Polonium 210 could be use to build the
initiator for a nuclear bomb. The Polonium 210 when
combined with the Beryllium released neutrons that start
the chain reaction in a fissile fuel.
Is Russia the only source of Polonium 210?
No. Russia is the only country allowed to produce Polonium
210 by the Non-Proliferation regime. However, other
countries, including Israel, Pakistan and North Korea,
have secretly produced it the past. Any country
with an experimental reactor can make it