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Separation of Hydrogen Isotopes by Thermal Cycling Absorption Process: An Experimental Device

D. Ducret, C. Laquerbe, A. Ballanger, J. Steimetz, V. Porri, J.P. Verdin, T. Pelletier

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 41 / Number 3P2 / May 2002 / Pages 1092-1096

Isotope Separation / Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Tritium Science and Technology Tsukuba, Japan November 12-16, 2001

The separation of hydrogen isotopes is an essential element for tritium processing systems. A new process invented at the Savannah River Site, has been developed at Valduc facility: Thermal Cycling Absorption Process. This system uses palladium packed in a column to absorb a stream of hydrogen isotopes. By repeated heating and cooling cycles, the hydrogen isotopes successively desorb into a capacity and go back onto the column. The thermal cycling creates differences in the Pd separation factor for the hydrogen isotopes inducing the concentration of tritium at one end of the column and the concentration of the lighter isotopes at the other end. This paper presents experimental results obtained with a full-scale facility which has been installed in a glovebox so as to treat weakly tritiated gases. Experimental data collected on this device working with several isotopic mixtures are presented and compared to simulation results.

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