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Polonium 210

Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will list the countries she has identified as having conducted experiments using polonium 210. (107895)

Any country with a reactor has the ability to produce polonium 210 and therefore carry out experiments with it. However, polonium 210 is not subject to International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and does not have to be reported to the agency, so even countries without a reactor could carry out experiments if they had a supply from a producing country. The UK, Russia, US and France are recognised as producing sealed polonium 210 sources for commercial use; as a neutron source, for eliminating static charges in textile mills, used on brushes for removing dust from photographic films, thermoelectric power in space satellites, etc.