back to article Radioactive Litvinenko poison trails now much easier to detect

Topflight British government boffins say they have at last cracked the knotty problem of cleanup following Alexander Litvinenko style radioactive-poison murders or similar incidents in which radiological contaminants are spread about the place. In the case of Litvinenko, the dying Russian - having been poisoned with the …


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  1. Steven Jones

    There is a provable trail

    "having been poisoned with the isotope polonium-210 by sinister forces whose identity is easy to guess but hard to prove"

    Nope - not in this case. Very easy to prove. However, as the Russians will not allow extradition or questioning of their nationals then it hits a brick wall. The evidence trail, cause by the polonium-210 itself is compelling and points directly to the immediate culprits, although whether such individuals could be persuaded to provide evidence to convict their masters would be another issue. In fact the cheif suspect is a member of the Duma and beyond the reach of law.

    As it is, with the Russian state on their side it's academic.

  2. neil 15

    UV detection

    My favourite method is by the use of tonic water. The Quinine in the tonic has a benzene ring which flouresces when exposed to UV. The additive effects of gin to the tonic are a worthy study.

    1. Graham Wilson

      Fine, but....

      Fine, but even a tonic water lover like me doesn't consume it all the time.

      And it would be informative to know whether under 'normal consuming' circumstances one would actually notice the fluorescence in the tonic water from the minuscule amount of Po 210 needed.

      The knowledgeable out there please advise us all (we need to know in case we visit Russia anytime soon).


  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    And because the Russian federation is a member of europol if you get arrested demonstrating against Litvinenko's murder the police hand them a copy of your record and DNA etc.

    Nice to have friends like that.

  4. John Browne 1

    When they say the long range version would be "non portable"

    Do they mean like the Hale telescope is "non portable"?

  5. Steve Bush

    inventions in which the NPL have had a hand include ... the actual internet.

    Sounds provocative.

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