Tritium Enrichment: Physical Basis and Methods
M. P. Neary
Virtually all tritium released as a gas into the environment becomes water-bound very rapidly. Because of the mass effect on the diffusion rate of tritiated water, fractionation or enrichment in water occurs in an aqueous environment. As a consequence, considerable regional variation in ambient tritium concentration occurs. The implementation of tritium as a tracer is becoming more widely used in both ground and surface water studies as ultra low background gas proportional, liquid scintillation counters and tritium enrichment apparatuses have been developed. Experiments and analysis, such as risk assessments, that rely on low-level tritium measurements will benefit from the considerations presented that will lead to optimized experimental design, better estimates of accuracy and precision, lower detection and quantitation levels, higher data quality, and lower cost of analysis. The objective of this paper is to present a discussion of the physical basis of enrichment and a comparison of the three analytical methods that result.
This abstract was presented at the 32nd Annual Midyear Meeting, "Creation and Future Legacy of Stockpile Stewardship Isotope Production, Applications, and Consumption", Tritium Enrichment and Production Session, 1/24/1999 - 1/27/1999, held in Albuquerque, NM.