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From: Paul Dietz <>
Subject: Re: New Scientist/Nuclear Contamination- Russia (fwd)
Date: Tue, 09 Dec 1997 20:58:19 -0600

John McCarthy wrote:

> How much radioactivity would it add to the natural radioactivity
> in the ocean?  Would it be significant?  I doubt it, but maybe
> someone has the information needed to do a calculation.

Seawater is 380 ppm potassium.  40K in the ocean decays at
the rate of about 1.5 x 10^22 becquerels, or about 0.4 teracuries.
The decay power is in the gigawatts.  See the CRC Handbook
for the necessary information to make this calculation.

The added radioactivity, if it would stay diluted in seawater
without bioconcentration or unusually large local
concentrations, would be small compared to this.


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