Having spent several posts on the science behind Polonium-210 (here, here, here), we thought we’d bring you a follow up on the case to date. The murder weapon seems to be a pot of tea. How very English:
British officials say police have cracked the murder-by-poison case of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, including the discovery of a “hot” teapot at London’s Millennium Hotel with an off-the-charts reading for Polonium-210, the radioactive material used in the killing.
A senior official tells ABC News the “hot” teapot remained in use at the hotel for several weeks after Litvinenko’s death before being tested in the second week of December. The official said investigators were embarrassed at the oversight.
The official says investigators have concluded, based on forensic evidence and intelligence reports, that the murder was a “state-sponsored” assassination orchestrated by Russian security services. (ABC)
The Russian security service of course denies the charge. What does anyone expect them to say? Yes, and we are sorry for bungling it so badly? The Brits are fingering a former Russian agent, Andrei Lugovoi, who met with the victim Andrei Litvinenko just before his illness from acute radiation poisoning. Lugovoi denies doing it. What does anyone expect him to say? Yes, and I am sorry for bungling it so badly?
As for collateral damage, there is this:
British health officials say some 128 people were discovered to have had “probable contact” with Polonium-210, including at least eight hotel staff members and one guest.
None of these individuals has yet displayed symptoms of radiation poisoning, and only 13 individuals of the 128 tested at a level for which there is any known long-term health concern, officials said.
What a relief. “Only” 13.