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A Light-Water Detritiation Project at Chalk River Laboratories

H. A. Boniface, I. Castillo, A. E. Everatt, D. K. Ryland

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 60 / Number 4 / November 2011 / Pages 1327-1330


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The NRU reactor rod bays is a large, open pool of water that receives hundreds of fuel rods annually, each carrying a small amount of residual tritiated heavy water. The tritium concentration of the rod bays water has risen over the years, to a level that is of concern to the operations staff and to the environment. The proposed long-term solution is to reduce the rod bays tritium concentration by direct detritiation of the water.

The Combined Electrolytic-Catalytic Exchange (CECE) process is well suited to the light-water detritiation problem. With a tritium-protium separation factor greater than five, a CECE detritiation process can easily achieve the eight orders of magnitude separation required to split a tritiated light-water feed into an essentially tritium-free effluent stream and a tritiated heavy water product suitable for recycling through a heavy water upgrader.

This paper describes a CECE light-water detritiation process specifically designed to reduce the tritium concentration in the NRU rod bays to an acceptable level. The conceptual design of a 600 Mg/a detritiation process has been developed and is now at the stage of project review and the beginning of detailed design.

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