It’s the weekend, so what better to do than go online and buy the same radioactive material that killed a former Russian spy and has governments from Washington to Moscow wondering whether the Cold War really ever ended.
All it took was a simple Google search — “buy polonium 210 online” – and there, right at the top of my results, was a link to United Nuclear, a nifty little mail-order company in Sandia Park, NM, which I guess makes this desert crossroads the Mail-Order Nukes Capital of the World (Click here for a Webcam — just in case you want to stop by on your next visit to America’s Land of Enchantment).
Sandia Park, it should be noted, is a skip from Sandia National Laboratories, home of America’s nuclear weapons research, so it’s reasonable to assume United Nuclear is selling top quality nuke, right?
But I digress…
Once on the United Nuclear site, I begin shopping…
Top left menu… there it is, under “Radiation & Nuclear,” click… radioactive isotopes.
Polonium-210? $69 (plus, $11.95 shipping and handling).
Hey, I can even buy a Polonium-210 coffee mug for 10 bucks!
On to the PayPal checkout counter… done!
Now, to be fair, United Nuclear’s owner, physicist Bob Lazar, goes to great lengths on the site to explain why the amounts of Polonium-210 — and other radioactive materials — are not hazardous.
“The amount of Polonium-210, as well as any of the isotopes we sell, is an ‘exempt quantity’ amount,” Lazar’s Web site says. “These quantities of radioactive material are not hazardous – this is why they are permitted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to be sold to the general public without any sort of license.”
Lazar’s site goes on to say that “all isotopes are made to order at an NRC licensed reactor in Oak Ridge, Tenn.,” and that once the isotope is made, “it is shipped directly to the customer from the reactor to insure the longest possible half-life.”
I wonder if they meant to say “ensure,” instead of “insure?” Again, I digress…
From reactor to my home... I couldn’t ask for better service. But here’s Lazar’s kicker:
“You would need about 15,000 of our Polonium-210 needle sources at a total cost of about $1 million to have a toxic amount.”
He’s right. Polonium-210 is so common, traces of it are found in everything from cigarettes —I hear another class-action lawsuit brewing — to the stuff you use to make sure your pants don’t cling to your socks.
It also makes you wonder that if this dead former KGB spy, Victor Litvinenko, and his wife Marina, and a mysterious Italian nuclear expert named Mario Scaramella all were poisoned by it — Litvinenko fatally — then someone’s spending a lot of money on Polonium-210, or has access to a lot of nuclear materials.
United Nuclear — hey, the U.N. — also says it will only sell and ship within the U.S., but a quick search found a mail forwarding site — mailnetwork.com — willing and able to send FedEx, UPS and just plain mail to addresses all over the world.
I even found this curious exchange on a digitalspy.com bulletin board:
“Buy Polonium-210 here:
You will need a US address. Loads of mail forwarding companies offering mail forwarding to UK.
Try here: http://www.mailnetwork.com/
The sample being sold is not a lethal dose, but you could buy several samples and then combine them.
You don't need a licence to possess Polonium-210 in the US, but i am not sure about the legal situation here.
More details here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/1...ailable_online/"
Lazar goes on to explain how Amercium-241 “is far more toxic,” and that “there is 10 times more than the ‘exempt quantity’ amount in every smoke detector in your home.”
But, I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted more nukes.
So, back into the site I went, this time looking for some really well-known radioactive souvenirs.
There’s the old standby, Strontium-90, a byproduct of uranium and plutonium fission, and a throwback to the above-ground weapons testing of the 1950s and ‘60s. Just $69.
Oh, they have Thallium-204, the “Poisoner’s Poison!” FANTASTIC! And, just $69.
Hey, Cesium-137! Real nuke fallout, the same kind that made its way into the atmosphere in the Chernobyl accident.
Hey, what’s that I see on Bob’s site?
“Looking for some uranium?”
You bet I am, Bob!
And — click — there it is! Ultra High Radiation Level Ore. I’ve hit the mother lode, so to speak.
“They are ideal for HazMat training… they can be sealed in a Zip-Lock bag!”
I just have to remember not to put the bag in my kid’s lunchbox.
Wow, $200 for these 2-3 inch rocks! My money’s better spent elsewhere.
Lazar also sells anti-radiation pills — potassium iodide — radiation detection equipment, even uranium prospecting vacations.
Now THAT’s fun!
Like looking for other great poisons online.
So, another quick search for “gas chambers” and I find hydrogen cyanide. I mean, if it’s good enough for gas chambers…
Now, search “buy hydrogen cyanide online” and… bingo, agriculture product Web sites.
Who knew? Farmers, I guess.
Seems they use hydrogen cyanide for varmint control.
I can’t get Thallium-24 off my mind, so another search and… I find it no longer is sold as a rodenticide, but there’s a link to eBay, so maybe…
Now, who would name a men’s cologne after a radioactive isotope used for killing rats?
Editor’s note: Upon second thought, Kindel decided to cancel his order for radioactive materials.