[ RadSafe ] Po-210 detection after 21 half-lives?

Miller, Mark L mmiller at sandia.gov
Mon Jul 9 10:10:00 CDT 2012


Quick calculation:  Litvinenko rec'd ~ 2 GBq of Po-210 (according to Wikipedia (above)).   Assuming that Arafat might have rec'd the same amount (IF Po-210 was involved).   2 GBq (2E9, time=0) X 5 E-7 (decay for Arafat's remains) = 1,000 Bq still in his remains.  One MIGHT be able to assay this IF his remains were carefully ashed to achieve volume reduction, followed by radioassay for Po-210.  The melting point of Po is 254 C and the boiling point is 962C, so it could conceivably be done?  Error/uncertainties would be large.

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Dapra [mailto:sjd at swcp.com] 
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 7:24 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Po-210 in the news

July 6

         I did the exercise.  It's 21 half-lives.  After that many half-lives wouldn't a radionuclide be somewhat difficult to detect?  By my reckoning, that's 0.477 x 10 -6 parts remaining.

Steven Dapra

At 09:50 AM 7/6/2012, you wrote:
>The fraction of any polonium-210 (138-day half-life) left on clothing 
>or other personal belongings from that allegedly given to Yasser 
>Arafat, who died eight years ago, is left as an exercise for
>the reader.   This does not include any "salting the mine."
>Rick Strickert
>Austin, TX

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