[ RadSafe ] Arafat Po poisoning report

Thu Nov 7 15:01:45 CST 2013

For those who are interested, one of the labs analyzing Arafat's remains has concluded that he was poisoned with Po-210. A copy of their report can be downloaded from the Al Jazeera website (http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/11/6/swiss-study-poloniumfoundinarafatasbones.html).

I have not had a chance to review the report at all - it's about 100 pages in length and I just downloaded it. But I have to say that I'm dubious that Po-210 could be detected so long after it was administered - with a half-life of 138 days, it's undergone 24 half-lives of decay so the original activity has decayed by a factor of 2^24 (about 17 million) since mid-October, 2004.

The report did mention a concentration of almost 1 Bq/gm in bone in one sample, which means that the concentration at death would have been over 17 MBq/gm if I'm doing the calculations correctly. That seems like an awful lot of Po-210.

In any event, it would be interesting if those of you who are better versed in laboratory procedures and such could comment on the plausibility of this part of the report being correct. It would also be interesting if those of you better-versed in radiation sickness could comment on the symptoms reported.

Finally, I should say that, although I'm dubious, I'm also willing to change my mind! If the reported lab results are correct then that's the way it goes.

All the best -


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