Ninety-seven percent of the legal production of one of the world’s rarest industrial products — the intensely radioactive isotope polonium-210 — takes place at a closely guarded nuclear reactor near the Volga River 450 miles southeast of Moscow. In an average year, about three ounces of the substance is made at the Avangard facility, a former nuclear weapons plant, then sold under strict controls to Russian and foreign companies that prize it for its abilities to reduce static electricity. Full Story
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