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Tritium Elimination System Using Tritium Gas Oxidizing Bacteria

Michiko Ichimasa et al.

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 48 / Number 1 / July 2005 / Pages 759-762


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In order to eliminate atmospheric tritium gas (HT) released from tritium handling apparatus, we proposed to use the HT oxidizing ability (hydrogenase enzyme) of bacterial strains isolated from surface soils instead of a high temperature precious metal catalyst. Among the isolated strains with high HT oxidation activity, several strains were selected to develop a tritium elimination (detritiation) system. Bioreactors were made of bacterial cells grown on agar medium on a cartridge filter and stored in a refrigerator until use. The detritiation ability of these bioreactors at room temperature was investigated during the intentional HT release experiments carried out in the Cassion Assembly for Tritium Safety Study (CATS) in TPL/JAERI. When HT contaminated air from the CATS was introduced into the biological detritiation system, in which three bioreactors were connected in series, 86% of HT in air was removed as tritiated water in these bioreactors at a flow rate of 100 cm3/min for 2 hours.

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