Zirconium is one of the few metals that retains its structural integrity upon exposure to radiation. The fuel rods in most nuclear reactors therefore are often made of zirconium. Answer the following questions about the redox properties of zirconium based on the half-reaction
a. Is zirconium metal capable of reducing water to form hydrogen gas at standard conditions?
b. Write a balanced equation for the reduction of water by zirconium.
d. The reduction of water by zirconium occurred during the accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. The hydrogen produced was successfully vented and no chemical explosion occurred. If 1.00 X 103 kg of Zr reacts, what mass of H2 is produced? What volume of H2 at 1.0 atm and 1000.°C is produced?
e. At Chernobyl in 1986, hydrogen was produced by the reaction of superheated steam with the graphite reactor core:
It was not possible to prevent a chemical explosion at Chernobyl. In light of this, do you think it was a correct decision to vent the hydrogen and other radioactive gases into the atmosphere at Three Mile Island? Explain.

  • CreatedMay 05, 2015
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