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Methyl Iodide Trapping Efficiency of Aged Charcoal Samples from Bruce-A Emergency Filtered Air Discharge Systems

Jungsook Clara Wren, Chris J. Moore, Miyoko Tateishi Rasmussen, Keith R. Weaver

Nuclear Technology

Volume 125 / Number 1 / January 1999 / Pages 28-39


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Charcoal filters are installed in the emergency filtered air discharge system (EFADS) of multiunit stations to control the release of airborne radioiodine in the event of a reactor accident. These filters use highly activated charcoal impregnated with triethylenediamine (TEDA). The TEDA-impregnated charcoal is highly efficient in removing radioiodine from flowing airstreams. The iodine-removal efficiency of the charcoal is presumed to deteriorate slowly with age, but current knowledge of this effect is insufficient to predict with confidence the performance of aged charcoal following an accident.

Experiments were performed to determine the methyl iodide removal efficiency of aged charcoal samples taken from the EFADS of Ontario Hydro's Bruce-A nuclear generating station. The charcoal had been in service for ~4 yr. The adsorption rate constant and capacity were measured under post-loss-of-coolant accident conditions to determine the efficiency of the aged charcoal. The adsorption rate constants of the aged charcoal samples were observed to be extremely high, yielding a decontamination factor (DF) for a 20-cm-deep bed of the aged charcoal >1 × 1015. The results show that essentially no CH3I would escape from a 20-cm-deep bed of the aged charcoal and that the requirement for a DF of 1000 for organic iodides in the EFADS filters would be exceeded by a tremendous margin. With such high DFs, the release of iodine from a 20-cm-deep bed would be virtually impossible to detect. The adsorption capacities observed for the aged charcoal samples approach the theoretical chemisorption capacity of 5 wt% TEDA charcoal, indicating that aging in the EFADS for 4 yr has had a negligible impact on the adsorption capacity. The results indicate that the short- and long-term performances of the aged charcoal in the EFADS of Bruce-A following an accident would still far exceed performance requirements.

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