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    Re: Glowing Sea Surface
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2003 Nov 11, 01:01 +0000

    Jared Sherman sought to implicate Tritium in seawater as a possible reason
    for glow at the ocean surface. I disagreed, and asked for a reference.
    He replied-
    >Well George, I suggest you can start with
    >That information is presented by the US Savannah River (Nuclear) Site.
    >They seem to be under the same misimpression that I am, i.e. that some
    >tritium does occur naturally in ground water. If it occurs naturally in
    >ground water, it will also be present in sea water, as almost all water
    >runs into the seas, one way or another, even if it has to evaporate and
    >rain down a few times or be metabolized and passed to get there.
    I don't suppose that this is a question that's of pressing interest to
    Nav-l members, so I will make it snappy.
    The website attributes natural Tritium to cosmic rays, just as I pointed
    out in my earlier posting, stating "In nature, cosmic rays interact with
    gases in the upper atmosphere to produce Tritium". That is the only natural
    source. The quantities in seawater from that source are infinitesimal.
    The website (from Savannah River Site -SRS) states "Tritium oxide is found
    in the wastewater from the site's chemical separation facilities and in
    some SRS groundwater". Nowhere does it attribute Tritium in groundwater to
    "natural occurrence". Being a large-scale producer of Tritium for bomb
    making, presumably the vast majority of the groundwater contamination at
    SRS arises from that activity, rather than "occurring naturally" as Jared
    There's no easy way of distinguishing Tritium oxide from any other form of
    water, and no way to remove it from the Savannah River, downstream of the
    plant, as the website accepts. However, such downstream water is abstracted
    for public drinking water supplies, and the website claims that these are
    perfectly safe for drinking, being well within regulatory limits (well,
    they would, wouldn't they?).
    Eventually, the water from this one river will be discharged into the
    ocean, where it will become immemsely diluted. And after 12 years of ocean
    residence, half of this activity will have disappeared anyway.
    So any notion that this will result in the oceans acquiring sufficient
    Tritium to glow in the dark is quite absurd: otherwise, how brightly would
    the Savannah River itself be glowing in the dark, or the water that flows
    from the taps of Savannah residents?
    And Jared doesn't question my statement that Tritium itself doesn't glow,
    I hope this has put Jared's notion into perspective.
    contact George Huxtable by email at george@huxtable.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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