Who's Who At The Polonium Party

The FAQs

How did Litvinenko die?

Litvinenko 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?

One-millionth of a gram.

How many times did Litvinenko ingest Polonium 210?

The 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?

Because 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 the antidote.

Could a person accidentally ingest Polonium 210?

Yes. All five previous cases of fatal Polonium 210 poisoning resulted from an accidental leak of Polonium 210 from a container.

How 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?

Yes. 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– Litvinenko, Kovtun, 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?

Yes.  He met with Scaramella for lunch at the Itsu Sushi before he went to the Pine Bar and Scaramella then tested positive for Polonium 210.

Were traces of Polonium 210 found in other places visited by Litvinenko?
Yes. Traces were found at Litvinenko’s home, the offices of Erinys, where he consulted, the offices of Berezovsky, the offices of Raven International, the Hey Jo lap dance club where he had a private cubicle, and two cars he had used.

What was the status of the possible crime scenes by the time the police examined them?

They 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

Questions? Email me at edepstein@worldnet.att.net
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