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Radioactive Water
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May 11, 2022 12:15:11   #
jerryc41 Loc: Catskill Mts of NY
 
A tank in Plymouth, on Cape Cod, is holding about a million gallons of radioactive water from the decommissioned nuclear plant. The company tasked with the cleanup is considering dumping it into the ocean. For some reason, residents don't like this idea, even though it's the cheapest option for the company. They say that even if the radioactivity does no harm, just the thought of a radioactive ocean will hurt the tourism and fishing industries. It's too bad there isn't a good use for all that radioactive water.

The company is also considering evaporation, but wouldn't that leave concentrated radioactivity, like salt left over after sea water evaporates? "Tis a puzzlement."

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May 11, 2022 13:04:36   #
Amator21 Loc: California
 
jerryc41 wrote:
A tank in Plymouth, on Cape Cod, is holding about a million gallons of radioactive water from the decommissioned nuclear plant. The company tasked with the cleanup is considering dumping it into the ocean. For some reason, residents don't like this idea, even though it's the cheapest option for the company. They say that even if the radioactivity does no harm, just the thought of a radioactive ocean will hurt the tourism and fishing industries. It's too bad there isn't a good use for all that radioactive water.

The company is also considering evaporation, but wouldn't that leave concentrated radioactivity, like salt left over after sea water evaporates? "Tis a puzzlement."
A tank in Plymouth, on Cape Cod, is holding about ... (show quote)


I would definately be AGAINST dumping it in the ocean. radioactive water is not (generally) a natural product and would most likely cause damage in ways not foreseen. How would you like eating radioactive fish unknowingly?
Evaporation in MHO would be preferable, if for no other reason that the problem would be of much (physical) proportions.
Poul.

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May 11, 2022 13:12:58   #
Mongo Loc: Western New York
 
Someone could be making watch dials!

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May 11, 2022 13:28:14   #
klevco47 Loc: Eastham Ma Cape Cod
 
I would love to make Linguini with clam sauce and turn the lights down to see the clams glowing.

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May 11, 2022 14:49:16   #
therwol Loc: USA
 
jerryc41 wrote:
A tank in Plymouth, on Cape Cod, is holding about a million gallons of radioactive water from the decommissioned nuclear plant. The company tasked with the cleanup is considering dumping it into the ocean. For some reason, residents don't like this idea, even though it's the cheapest option for the company. They say that even if the radioactivity does no harm, just the thought of a radioactive ocean will hurt the tourism and fishing industries. It's too bad there isn't a good use for all that radioactive water.

The company is also considering evaporation, but wouldn't that leave concentrated radioactivity, like salt left over after sea water evaporates? "Tis a puzzlement."
A tank in Plymouth, on Cape Cod, is holding about ... (show quote)


I looked into this. The radioactive nucleotides in the radioactive water can be filtered out. There are communities where there is a lot of natural radiation in the groundwater where they have to do just that. I suppose that would have to be disposed of in some fashion. As for putting it in the ocean, I think it's a matter of how much. If it is put in the water south of Cape Cod, the Gulf Stream will take it out to sea and dilute it.

Nuclear power presents a dilemma. We have enough material to power the entire planet for thousands of years, but there is going to be waste, and it ends up becoming a constant source of debate.

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May 11, 2022 15:41:20   #
Mongo Loc: Western New York
 
Radium-226 as well as tritium (H-3) were both used as energy sources in watches and bomb sights. Unfortunately, Ra-226 has a half life of 1600 years, so my watch will be glowing after I am dead. Kodak detected the first tests prior to their general knowledge as the fallout fogged film made in Rochester, NY. Eventually, the US government paid Kodak money for degraded film, and Kodak kept the matter hush.

Sadly, prior to that, bomb sites were also made by Kodak, and the women who painted them would use their tongue to neaten the tip of the brush. Sadly when the war was over there were quite a few cancer cases.

Related a little bit, I have been in the reactor room which was in the basement of Kodak Research Labs, before the reactor was dismantled. That reactor was used to make select radioisotopes for some projects.

To effectively address the radioactive water, one has to know the contaminants, etc. and it is likely possible to reduce the waste footprint. I jokingly mentioned painting watch dials, because sometimes recycling radioactive materials is a means of recycling waste.

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May 11, 2022 15:48:06   #
Rainman46 Loc: East Hampstead, NH
 
You always need an exit strategy before you start - obviously they had nope. Extremely poor planning.

I'm surprised because it's Massachusetts.

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May 12, 2022 06:15:18   #
Peterfiore Loc: Eastern PA
 
Somewhere somehow a new Godzilla...

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May 12, 2022 06:42:22   #
kymarto Loc: Portland OR and Milan Italy
 
A little more information is needed here. All nuclear plants release tritium into the water; it is impossible to filter it out. It is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen with a half life a little over 12 years. Because it is biologically inert, it is mostly not incorporated into body tissues, and as a beta emitter it is relatively safe. It does not settle or clump or concentrate. Why this water was stored in the first place is not clear. It may have been from an abnormal concentration of tritium. As always, no real judgement can be made in the absence of important facts.

https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/tritium-radiation-fs.html

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May 12, 2022 07:46:52   #
Stephan G
 
jerryc41 wrote:
A tank in Plymouth, on Cape Cod, is holding about a million gallons of radioactive water from the decommissioned nuclear plant. The company tasked with the cleanup is considering dumping it into the ocean. For some reason, residents don't like this idea, even though it's the cheapest option for the company. They say that even if the radioactivity does no harm, just the thought of a radioactive ocean will hurt the tourism and fishing industries. It's too bad there isn't a good use for all that radioactive water.

The company is also considering evaporation, but wouldn't that leave concentrated radioactivity, like salt left over after sea water evaporates? "Tis a puzzlement."
A tank in Plymouth, on Cape Cod, is holding about ... (show quote)


Another problem with evaporation is that the isotopes can lift in the process of evaporation. With salts, the components are such that they do combine into crystals.

It is very mind blowing to see that radiation was considered to be harmless until almost three quarters of a century ago. And to read about illnesses discovered by virtue of long time exposure.

There are universities that have small reactors on their properties that are water cooled. Not as many now, but I visited one back in the 1980s. They were exploring filtration systems to address the radioactive wastes.

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May 12, 2022 09:00:39   #
kymarto Loc: Portland OR and Milan Italy
 
Stephan G wrote:
Another problem with evaporation is that the isotopes can lift in the process of evaporation. With salts, the components are such that they do combine into crystals.

It is very mind blowing to see that radiation was considered to be harmless until almost three quarters of a century ago. And to read about illnesses discovered by virtue of long time exposure.

There are universities that have small reactors on their properties that are water cooled. Not as many now, but I visited one back in the 1980s. They were exploring filtration systems to address the radioactive wastes.
Another problem with evaporation is that the isoto... (show quote)


Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen and as such it forms part of the water molecule and will not deposit out.

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May 12, 2022 09:15:04   #
docerz
 
Just wondering...a million gallons in how many trillions of ocean water?
Perhaps some dilution.

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May 12, 2022 10:15:45   #
TriX Loc: Raleigh, NC
 
Stephan G wrote:
Another problem with evaporation is that the isotopes can lift in the process of evaporation. With salts, the components are such that they do combine into crystals.

It is very mind blowing to see that radiation was considered to be harmless until almost three quarters of a century ago. And to read about illnesses discovered by virtue of long time exposure.

There are universities that have small reactors on their properties that are water cooled. Not as many now, but I visited one back in the 1980s. They were exploring filtration systems to address the radioactive wastes.
Another problem with evaporation is that the isoto... (show quote)


NC State University has a Pulsar reactor (immersed in a deep water pool) in the middle of campus. It’s used to train nuclear engineering students and as a neutron source for material testing.

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May 12, 2022 12:20:29   #
Stephan G
 
kymarto wrote:
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen and as such it forms part of the water molecule and will not deposit out.


The difficulty with Chemistry is that it is very complex. As such, it is very hard to cover all possibilities. Water vapor, as an example, is cast off during evaporation. Hydrogen also is part of the hydroxyl group.

Another question presented in one of the above posts is about diffusion. That presents a set of problems that is beyond the scope of discussion. Not everything diffuses evenly into solution.

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May 12, 2022 13:16:29   #
Effate Loc: El Dorado Hills, Ca.
 
Amator21 wrote:
I would definately be AGAINST dumping it in the ocean. radioactive water is not (generally) a natural product and would most likely cause damage in ways not foreseen. How would you like eating radioactive fish unknowingly?
Evaporation in MHO would be preferable, if for no other reason that the problem would be of much (physical) proportions.
Poul.


Not for dumping it in the ocean but the micro plastics you are eating and drinking dwarf that problem. I have seen beaches in Kauai (I assume due to the high concentration of plastic in the sand they are situated favorably for the trades to blow it in) that have highly visible plastic pieces throughout the beach. This is obviously a worldwide issue.

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