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Reconstruction of Tritium Release History from Contaminated Groundwater Using Tree Ring Analysis

Dr. Robert M. Kalin, Dr. Charles E. Murphy Jr.a, Dr. Gregory Hall

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 28 / Number 3P1 / October 1995 / Pages 883-887

Tritium Safety / Proceedings of the Fifth Topical Meeting on Tritium Technology in Fission, Fusion, and Isotopic Applications Belgirate, Italy May 28-June 3, 1995 /

The history of tritium releases to the groundwater from buried waste was reconstructed through dendrochronology. Wood from dated tree rings was sectioned from a cross-section of a tree that was thought to tap the groundwater. Cellulose was chemically separated from the wood. The cellulose was combusted and the water of combustion collected for liquid scintillation counting. The tritium concentration in the rings rose rapidly after 1972 which was prior to the first measurements made in this area. Trends in the tritium concentration of water outcropping to the surface are similar to the trends in tritium concentration in tree rings..

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