Alexander Litvinenko; KGB agent killed from radiation

Shane and Alex

Mr. Schmidt

901-This is one of the few radiation attacks on a human, so over time scientists will find out more about the effects it has a human.902- After this event took place, people were looking more into Polonium and what it does to things. Which is learning more about one of the elements.903- Now that the dangers of Polonium and other radiations is known, technology is trying to advance to be able to defend against these nuclear weapons.904- The Russians showed the dangers of radiation on humans, which will help other countries figure out how to defend against it.905- The men were assigned to kill Litvinenko, which would be considered radition poisoning being used in a job.

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This is a picture of Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko, a former officer who served in the Russian KGB. Litvinenko fled Russia in 2000 with his family and was granted asylum in the United Kingdom where he became a journalist and writer. He left Russia to escape his past arrests for exceeding his authority at work where him and other Federal Security Service officers accussed the government in many assasinations and terrorist plots to bring Vladimir Putin to power.

Dimitry Kovtun
Dimitry Kovtun
Andrei Lugovoi
Andrei Lugovoi

On November 1, 2006 Litvinenko met with two former KGB agents ( Dimitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi), where later in the day Litvinenko fell ill and was hospitalized. Both denied doing anything wrong, but later it was found that Kovtun had left Polonium traces in his house and car.

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His illness was later attributed to poisoning with radionuclide polonium-210 after the Health Protection Agency found significant amounts of the rare and highly toxic element in his body.

external image Polonium.gif
Polonium was discovered in 1898 by Marie Curie and Pierre Curie and is a rare and highly radioactive element. As it is unstable, all isotopes of polonium are radioactive and is either considered a post-transition metal or a metalloid. Litvinenko was probably the first person ever to die from the acute alpha radiation of polonium-210. The alpha particles of polonium do not penetrate the skin and is why many have not died from it; but if ingested, inhaled or absorbed the alpha particles will easily damage organic tissue. While it may not seem dangerous from the outside, when it is inside the body it can do major damage because the alpha particles have no where else to go.

Hospitalized Alexander Litvinenko
Hospitalized Alexander Litvinenko
Litvinenko had all of the usual symptoms of radiation, yellowish skin and loss of hair; but it was hard finding out exactly how much he had been exposed to because unlike other radioactive isotopes polonium only emits alpha particles and not gamma rays so it is very hard to detect. But when they finally tested Alexander they found that he had ingested 10 micrograms of Polonium-210 which is 200 times that of a median lethal dose.

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When the investigation was conducted they found a teapot in the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square with polonium readings that were off the charts. In fact this was the hotel that Litvinenko was staying at and was the source of his radiation. Investigators concluded that the murder was a 'state-sponsored' assassination orchestrated by Russian security services. The police went to charge former Russian spy Andrei Lugovoi, one of the men who met with Litvinenko the day that he was poisoned.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Many suspects were brought into question including the two former KGB agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dimitry Kovtun; but on his death bed Litvinenko insisted that it was Vladimir Putin who was behind his poisioning. When asked about why he thought Putin would want him dead Litvinenko stated "Putin wanted him dead." This is attributed to the fact that Litvinenko was one of the former KGB agents that questioned how Putin came to power and that the Russian Government used some radical and morally wrong things to so.

Grave of Alexander Litvinenko
Grave of Alexander Litvinenko
Alexander Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006, although no charges have formally been made due to the fact that Russia will not extradite a national, but British authorites are certain that Lugovoi was the one who administered the polonium. This event stirred up quite the talk and is said to be the start of "Nuclear terrorism." This event has shed light on where we are in the world today with technology and nuclear advances and is a death that forever will be marked as one that started the age of nuclear terrorism. Sources:
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