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More on Russia and Polonium-210

Last week, our own Kelly Taylor tried to separate myth from reality when it came to Polonium-210. Today, Ruth Sponsler at We Support Lee is picking up the ball.

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Comments

Kirk Sorensen said…
Here's a glaring error for you:

Russia's only polonium-producing reactor idle for two years

No reactor can produce polonium--it is a natural decay product of uranium-238. It is not a fission product--indeed, no fission product is as heavy as Po-210. Nuclear fission actually removes uranium-238 from action (by converting it to Pu-239) and prevents it from decaying to polonium.

Someone's not doing their homework in Russia.
Ruth Sponsler said…
Actually, according to a data sheet from the Health Physics Society, Po-210 can be artificially produced by neutron bombardment of Bi-209 [the naturally occurring isotope of bismuth].

You have to stick the bismuth into the reactor - the reactor certainly doesn't produce polonium by itself. A declassified physics study document shows the reactions and amounts involved.

Of course, Marie Curie isolated hers the natural way.
Kirk Sorensen said…
Good point, Ruth...I stand corrected!

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