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Screening Experiments for Removal of Low-Level Tritiated Water

Yun Mi Kim, Ronald Baney, Kevin Powers, Ben Koopman, James Tulenko

Nuclear Technology / Volume 149 / Number 3 / March 2005 / Pages 337-342

Technical Note / Nuclear Plant Operations and Control /

Screening experiments for low levels of tritiated water (HTO) remediation based upon selective adsorption/desorption mechanisms utilizing equilibrium isotope effects have been carried out. Several organic and inorganic high surface area materials were investigated to assess their ability to selectively adsorb low concentrations of HTO. Ion-exchange resins with cation functionalities, chitosan, sodium alginate, and several inorganic media modified with metal cations exhibited promising results. Biomaterials, for example, chitosan and modified alginate, demonstrated positive results. Based on the literature and our preliminary testing, we postulate four possible mechanisms for selected tritium adsorption: hydrogen ion exchange, HTO coordination with surface cation sites, hydrogen bonding to surface basic sites, and secondary hydrogen bonding (structural water) in fine pores.

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