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Dependence of Tritium Release from Stainless Steel on Temperature and Water Vapor

W. T. Shmayda, M. Sharpe, A. M. Boyce, R. Shea, B. Petroski, W. U. Schröder

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 68 / Number 4 / November 2015 / Pages 766-771

Technical Paper /

First Online Publication:September 15, 2015
Updated:November 5, 2015

The impact of water vapor and temperature on the release of tritium from stainless steel was studied. Degreased stainless steel samples loaded with tritium at room temperature following a 24-h degassing in vacuum at room temperature were subjected to increasing temperatures or humidity. In general, increasing either the sample temperature or the humidity causes an increased quantity of tritium to be removed. Increasing the temperature to 300°C in a dry gas stream results in a significant release of tritium and is therefore an effective means for reducing the tritium inventory in steel. For humid purges at 30°C, a sixfold increase in humidity results in a tenfold increase in the peak outgassing rate. Increasing the humidity from 4 parts per million (ppm) to 1000 ppm when the sample temperature is 100°C causes a significant increase in the tritium outgassing rate. Finally, a simple calculation shows that only 15% of the activity present in the sample was removed in these experiments, suggesting that the surface layer of adsorbed water participates in regulating tritium desorption from the surface.