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Performance Characterization of Hydrogen Isotope Exchange and Recombination Catalysts for Tritium Processing

S. Suppiah, D. Ryland, K. Marcinkowska, H. Boniface, A. Everatt

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 60 / Number 4 / November 2011 / Pages 1359-1362


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AECL's hydrogen isotope exchange catalyst and recombination catalysts have been successfully applied to a wide range of industrial tritium-removal applications. The catalysts are used for Liquid Phase Catalytic Exchange (LPCE) and for gas-phase and trickle-bed recombination of hydrogen isotopes and have led to process simplification, improved safety and operational advantages.

Catalyst performance design equations derived from laboratory testing of these catalysts have been validated against performance under industrial conditions. In a Combined Electrolysis and Catalytic Exchange (CECE) demonstration plant analyses of LPCE and recombiner efficiency were carried out as a function of catalyst activity over a wide range of operation. A steady-state process simulation used to model and design the hydrogen-water isotopic exchange processes, such as the CECE detritiation plant, was validated using the results of this demonstration.

Catalyst development for isotope-exchange and recombination applications has continued over the last decade. As a result, significant improvements in catalyst performance have been achieved for these applications. This paper outlines the uniqueness of AECL's specialized catalysts and process designs for these applications with examples from laboratory and industrial case studies.

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