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Techniques for Tritium Recovery from Carbon Flakes and Dust at the JET Active Gas Handling System

S. Grünhagen et al.

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 54 / Number 1 / July 2008 / Pages 55-58

Technical Paper / Iter and Fusion /

Detritiation of highly tritium contaminated carbon and metal material used as first wall armour is a key issue for fusion machines like JET and ITER. Re-deposited carbon and hydrogen in the form of flakes and dust can lead to a build-up of the tritium inventory and therefore this material must be removed and processed. The high tritium concentration of the flake and dust material collected from the JET vacuum vessel makes it unsuitable for direct waste disposal without detritiation. A dedicated facility to process the tritiated carbon flake material and recover the tritium has been designed and built. In several test runs active material was successfully processed and detritiated in the new facility. Samples containing only carbon and hydrogen isotopes have been completely oxidized without any residue. Samples containing metallic impurities, e.g. beryllium, require longer processing times, adjusted processing parameters and yield an oxide residue. The detritiation factor was 2 x 104. In order to simulate in-vessel and ex-vessel detritiation techniques, the detritiation of a carbon flake sample by isotopic exchange in a hydrogen atmosphere was investigated. 2.8 % of tritium was recovered by this means.

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