Sunday, November 10, 2013

Killing Arafat

From Wikipedia:

Polonium is a very rare element in nature because of the short half-life of all its isotopes. It is found in uranium ores at about 0.1 mg per metric ton (1 part in 1010),[43][44] which is approximately 0.2% of the abundance of radium. The amounts in the Earth's crust are not harmful. Polonium has been found in tobacco smoke from tobacco leaves grown with phosphate fertilizers.[45][46][47]

Because of the small abundance, isolation of polonium from natural sources is a very tedious process. The largest batch was extracted in the first half of the 20th century by processing 37 tonnes of residues from radium production. It contained only 40 Ci (9 mg) of polonium-210.[48] Nowadays, polonium is obtained by irradiating bismuth with high-energy neutrons or protons.[16][49]

In 1934, an experiment showed that when natural 209Bi is bombarded with neutrons, 210Bi is created, which then decays to 210Po via beta-minus decay. The final purification is done pyrochemically followed by liquid-liquid extraction techniques.[50] Polonium may now be made in milligram amounts in this procedure which uses high neutron fluxes found in nuclear reactors.[49] Only about 100 grams are produced each year, practically all of it in Russia, making polonium exceedingly rare.[51][52]

One has therefore to question how many states in the Middle East have nuclear reactors?