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Bbrhuft t1_jcaunob wrote

That's interesting. I always wondered where the Polonium-210 came from. I have a radioactive apatite from Brazil. In this case it contains radioactive thorium, but yes apatite (phosphate ore) can also contain uranium.


RadWasteEngineer t1_jcavmk1 wrote

Uranium decays to thorium decays to radium decays to radon, and so on. So any or that contains uranium will contain this huge suite of decay products as well.

What's especially interesting to me about tobacco is that it selectively removes polonium from all the others and puts it in the hapless smoker.


Bbrhuft t1_jcayi93 wrote

Wow, so it's biologically concentrating Po-210 like how Chernobyl mushrooms concentrate Cesium-137, or radioactive galena...

This will interest you. Here's a sample of radioactive galena I have from the Kateřina Coal Mine, Radvanice, Czech Republic.

Here's a close up photo...

It looks like a bismuth specimen, due to its odd formation process, deposition from hot gas.

The Kateřina Coal Mine was a bizarre combination of a coal and uranium mine, that caught fire in the 1960s or 70s. Fumes from the burning coal seams deposited galena in cracks, which ended up contaminated with radioactive Lead-210, half life 22 years.

The specimen was likely collected in the 1990. The entire site was rehabilitated about 15 years ago, it's now a nice green park. Big difference from the hell scape of a burning radioactive coal mine.


RadWasteEngineer t1_jcaz3dh wrote

Yes, bioconcentration.

That's amazing about the burning coal mine forming galena from the lead. Nature is incredible.