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Dilution concepts of water

  1. Aug 10, 2011 #1
    I am a mechanical engineering student who is taking his first chemistry class this upcomming semester. I have a question regarding water and its dilution principles. I have reading up on how Nuclear power plants work. I am curious to how the ocean water disolves and dilutes the radioactive particles form the leak. How does it actually effect the radioactive material? Does that "nuteralized" or "disolved" radioactive material still float around in the water? if it does, is that not harmful? if not, please explain why.

    My second question, Shouldnt a nuclear power plant be built by the ocean or totally away from it? The reason i ask, Our state, Utah, has approved a nuclear power plant here and they approved it after the japan incident.

    Thank you much for you help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2011 #2


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    For your first question, the effect in the ocean is simply the lowering of concentration by dilution. The water has no effect on the radioactivity itself. Since the harm it does is very much dependent on concentration, it becomes less harmful as a result of this dilution.

    Near ocean or away is basically a question of the dangers of natural phenomena such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tidal waves, etc. Presumably to approve a plant, it is necessary for the owners to demonstrate how it plans to cope with such things.
  4. Aug 10, 2011 #3


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    The effect is similar to diluting a poison with large amounts of water. The poison would still hurt you, but much less so than a non diluted poison. The poison itself, in regards to the chemistry of the molecule, is still just as deadly, there is just less of it per volume when it is diluted.
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