В википедии в статье про полоний уже упоминается про Литвиненко:
- This element has also been used in devices that eliminate static charges in textile mills and other places. However, beta sources are more commonly used and are less dangerous.
- Polonium is used on brushes that remove accumulated dust from photographic films. The polonium in these brushes is sealed and controlled thus minimizing radiation hazards.
- There is now at least one confirmed case of Polonium 210 being used as a poison (see below)
This isotope of polonium is an alpha emitter that has a half-life of 138.39 days. A milligram of polonium-210 emits as many alpha particles as 5 grams of radium. A great deal of energy is released by its decay with a half a gram quickly reaching a temperature above 750 K. A few curies (gigabecquerels) of polonium-210 emit a blue glow which is caused by excitation of surrounding air. A single gram of polonium-210 generates 140 watts of heat energy. Since nearly all alpha radiation can be easily stopped by ordinary containers and upon hitting its surface releases its energy, polonium-210 has been used as a lightweight heat source to power thermoelectric cells in artificial satellites. A polonium-210 heat source was also used in each of the Lunokhod rovers deployed on the surface of the Moon, to keep their internal components warm during the lunar nights.
Police are investigating the substance in connection with the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in November 2006.