Skip to comments.Ex-spy's poison on the Internet $69 can get you a trace - commonly used lethal industrial substance
Posted on 11/28/2006 2:36:46 PM PST by fight_truth_decay
$69 can get you a trace of the commonly used lethal industrial substance...
It's one of the deadliest imaginable poisons, a radioactive substance about 100 billion times as deadly as cyanide -- and a Web site run by a physicist and flying saucer enthusiast offers to sell you a trace amount of it for $69 and send it via the U.S. Postal Service or UPS.
Contrary to early news reports, polonium-210 -- the poison suspected in the death of an ex-Russian spy in England -- is not some exotic material available solely from nuclear laboratories. The isotope is available from firms that sell it for lawful and legitimate uses in industry, such as removing static electricity from machinery and photographic film.
If ingested in large enough amounts, polonium-210 causes a hideous death.
"This is not a way you'd want to die -- it's a very slow, painful death," said Kelly L. Classic, a radiation physicist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and the media liaison for the Health Physics Society, a national organization of experts on the health effects of radiation.
Polonium is an "alpha emitter," which, when it decays, emits high-speed volleys of subatomic alpha particles -- each one composed of two protons and two neutrons bound together -- that rip apart DNA coils and bust up the cells within which they reside.
An alpha particle "is huge on an atomic scale," Classic said. "If an electron was a piece of popcorn, the alpha particle (would be) like a bowling ball."
(Must be excerpted go to link)
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
polonium-210 does appear to have plenty of industrial uses but Lazar is a nut.
United Nuclear is run by Bob Lazar, who attracted national attention when he claimed to have worked on crashed alien spaceships at a U.S. military base in Nevada called Area 51.
Pardon me if I call shenanigans. Whoever wrote the article didn't actually order polonium and have it tested, so my guess is that Lazar is a fake.
A few orders from areas with Al Qaida presence as well as other places where the haters hang out, I'd reckon ....
I am guessing that the "trace" amount is very tiny indeed, and hopefully sealed in plastic or glass.
If this poison is 100 billion times as deadly as cyanide, why is the media reporting that 2nd and 3rd contacts at the hotel bar or the restaurant have little to worry about? Is that judgement theirs or the government's? And no matter whose, why should anyone believe it?
I strongly suspect that if I sent this guy $69, I'd be out $69 and not have a single atom of polonium-210 to show for it. I would, however, have a crew of very unamused FBI agents on my doorstep.
And no legitimate company would buy something like this from anyone with a resume like Lazar's, not to mention from someone who is offering to deliver it via a patently illegal method (USPS flatly prohibits mailing radioactive materials).
With old chemistry sets or "Mr. Wizard", kids could experiment with the help of mail orders for the process of science alone, times have changed.
I've purchased from Lazar/United Nuclear before, and it is operated as a perfectly legitimate company. Their high power magnets are some of the best I've seen, and the lump of uranium ore on my bookshelf has always been an interesting conversation starter :)
They sold out of them, but at one point Lazar was even selling unused reactor fuel pellets. Completely useless for building a weapon or a reactor (he'd only sell you one), but it was still suprising to see that high-radiation items like that can be sold legally. There are LOTS of things on his site that will kill you or injure you, a fact which the site warns you about repeatedly.
FWIW, he loves press like this. It drives people to the site and drives up his sales.
The best part - Lazar puts out this story. A FBI team will probably have to interview him. Then, at the very next alien saucer convention, he will be in big demand as leading speaker - - for a sizable fee, of course. And, there'll be the book he will sell at the convention; you know, the one that proves the goverbment is suppressing the alien visitations proved by the FBI harassing him. Lazar is a fakir.
The amounts [if any] would be like americium in a smoke detector - traces of traces. Anything greater would run way more than $69. I am still looking for some old clock with radium painted dial - tritium gun sights go to half intensity in 11 years, but radium ones [glass encased] would last for centuries.
Anyone who wants to browse Bob Lazar's site for your really hot Christmas shopping, can go to:
Hmmm. Guess one just needs to go with a (barely) visible amount, then, and hope the blue glow isn't noticed on the canape.
If they are fast breeder "fuels" such as U238 or Thorium 232, it is legal. Natural isotopes are license exempt in less than 100 MicroCurie amounts. With natural isotopes at low specific activities, that amount can be many pounds.
If it is LEU, he cannot be selling it, or possessing it without a Special Nuclear Materials License.
Radiologically, the Americium 241 in smoke detectors have energetic alpha, and should be at least as deadly as Po210.