Perhaps I should have been paying more attention

I received an email asking my opinion about this article. The important part is the following:

The death of Alexander Litvinenko by radiological poisoning points to the possibility that the former Soviet spy may have been involved with Islamic terrorists in the preparation of tactical nuclear weapons for use in the jihad against the United States and its NATO allies.

Litvenenko, a former KGB agent, died in London on November 23 after ingesting a microscopic amount of polonium-210.

Litvinenko, who was born an orthodox Christian, was a convert to Islam with close ties to the Chechen rebels. His last words consisted of his desire to be buried “according to Muslim tradition.”

The neutron source or “triggers” of the suitcase nukes are composed of beryllium-9 and polonium-210. When these two elements are combined, the alpha particle is absorbed by the nucleus of the beryllium causing it to decay by emitting a neutron. Such “triggers” were a feature of early nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Soviet stockpiles.

Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138 days, necessitating the replacement of the triggers every six months. For this reason, the suitcase nukes are far from maintenance-free. In addition, the nuclear core of these devices emit a temperature in excess of one hundred degrees Fahrenheit – – further exposing the weapons to oxidation and rust. Small wonder that al Qaeda operatives including Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who are spearheading “the American Hiroshima” have received extensive training in nuclear technology.

I’m a little annoyed at the article. The physics are non-sensical. Things don’t “emit a temperature”. They can emit radiation of various types which could include infra-red energy which could be called “heat”. They might generate enough heat to maintain a temperature of 100 degrees F while stored at room temperature. And a temperature of 100F does not necessitate “further exposure to oxidation and rust”. That makes me a little bit more skeptical than I normally would be.

I haven’t read much more than the headlines in the spy poisoning case so I really can address the question and comment accompanying the link:

Sounds a little far fetched. Have you heard anything similar? If it is actually true, it would mean there are mushroom clouds planned for sometime in the next six months. The biggest Christian holiday is Christmas……..

Something to keep in mind this holiday season.

I’m going to make sure I know where my Geiger counter is and that it’s working. Lots of other safety gear to check up on as well. There’s not much else I can do. We can all “thank” the bigoted felons at PNNL for taking me out of this fight.