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Kinetic modelling of the dispersion of plutonium in the eastern Irish Sea: two approaches
Periáñez, R. (2003). Kinetic modelling of the dispersion of plutonium in the eastern Irish Sea: two approaches. J. Mar. Syst. 38(3-4): 259-275. dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0924-7963(02)00242-7
In: Journal of Marine Systems. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Amsterdam. ISSN 0924-7963, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Dispersion; Hydrodynamic equations; Kinetics; Modelling; Plutonium; Redox reactions; ANE, Irish Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Periáñez, R.

Abstract
    A new model to simulate the dispersion of plutonium in the eastern Irish Sea is presented. The model solves the 3D hydrodynamic equations using normalized sigma-coordinates in the vertical simultaneously with the suspended matter equation. Pu can be present in three phases: water, suspended matter and bottom sediments. Reduction and oxidation reactions are also included in the model, in terms of reaction rates, since Pu can be present in the marine environment in principally two different oxidation states. Two kinetic models are presented to describe the transfers of radionuclides between the liquid and solid phases: a one-step model consisting of a single reversible reaction and a two-step model consisting of two consecutive reversible reactions. It has been found that both models can properly simulate the contamination of the waters and sediments from the eastern Irish Sea due to the releases from the BNFL Sellafield nuclear fuel processing plant, since the outputs from both models are very similar and in agreement with observations. Also, both models can simulate the speciation of Pu between the reduced and oxidized forms. However, if the dominant source of radionuclides to the water column is redissolution from a contaminated sediment, a process that is actually occurring in the Irish Sea, it has been found that a two-step model must be used. Indeed, a one-step model predicts the redissolution from the sediment to be unrealistically rapid.

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