Polonium-210 – the deadly poison used to kill KGB spy Alexander Livinenko is being sold on the ‘dark web’.
Experts have warned that the substance is one of the most toxic on earth and is a ‘trillion times more deadly than cyanide’ reports the Daily Star.
A microgram of Po-210 – the size of a speck of dust – can deliver a fatal dose, but huge amounts were found in Litvinenko’s body after he drank tea laced with the chemical in 2006.
The availability of the deadly substance has sparked fresh fears that terrorists could easily buy Po-210 as they investigate new ways to launch attacks.
It is thought that the poison is being sold by Russian arms dealers who are believed to have seized supplies from research labs and nuclear sites.
Daily Star investigators managed to gain access to several websites listing it for sale.
On one site a vendor advertises various lethal chemicals, including £420 worth of Po-210 with the description:
Fresh Po-210. If you don’t know what it is you don’t need.
Can get large quantity if needed. Send private message before making a purchase.
The seller – located somewhere in Russia – said he could ship to the UK, and that the radioactive chemical came from ‘reactor sites in the former Soviet Union’.
It is safely packaged and we ship to special pick-up points where a driver will collect. Cannot say where for obvious reasons. Please provide postal address and specify required amount.
A British security source told the Daily Star they are aware that nuclear material and radioactive chemicals are in circulation in London.
The source said:
The dark net is the perfect market for dealers to get rid of it and make money in the process.
There are only a select few who want to buy this stuff – killers and terrorists. This illicit and deadly trade just plays into their hands.
Well that’s reassuring.