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An Experimental Investigation of the Efficiency of HTO Reduction by Zr-Fe-Mn Getter Alloy

Francesco Ghezzi, Walter T. Shmayda, Giovanni Bonizzoni

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 31 / Number 1 / January 1997 / Pages 75-105


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Tritium gas handling involves the production of tritiated water, which is 10000 times more hazardous than tritium gas. If tritium emission to the environment must be minimized, the need to process tritiated water and recover the chemically bound tritium appears clear. Facilities for processing tritiated water produced in fission reactors are already available, while facilities for a deuterium-tritium fusion machine are under development. However, these facilities are intended for large-scale applications and are neither practical nor economical for small-scale applications. HTO vapor reduction to HT over a hot metal getter other than uranium offers a simple, safe, and economical solution. A high alloy capacity and conversion rate combined with a low tritium residual inventory in the exhausted alloy make this method attractive. An experimental investigation of the efficiency of reducing HTO by a Zr-Fe-Mn alloy is presented. The results, obtained by three independent diagnostics (stripper set, ionization chambers, and mass spectrometry), show that for gas residence times >1 s and alloy temperatures >400°C, a conversion efficiency exceeding 90% is achievable. Specific conversion rates >0.1 μmol/s·g−1 are observed during the alloy usage, while a capacity of the alloy, measured as an oxygen-to-alloy mole ratio, >2.6 has been measured.

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