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A Passive Diffusion Sampler for HT- and HTO-in-Air

R. A. Surette, J. C. Nunes

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 48 / Number 1 / Pages 393-396

July 2005

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Fusion research and tritium removal facilities potentially handle large inventories of tritium gas (HT). If any HT is released into the workplace, a fraction may be converted to tritiated water vapour (HTO). A convenient method to determine the activity concentration of each species is necessary to assess the potential hazard since the radiological hazard of HTO is more than 104 that due to HT. Passive samplers for measuring tritiated water vapour (HTO) have been shown to be suitable for use indoors and outdoors. These simple samplers consist of a standard 20-mL liquid scintillation vial with a diffusion orifice that determines the sampling rate.

The total tritium samplers described herein are passive or diffusion samplers that contain a small amount of AECL-proprietary wet-proofed catalyst fixed to the underside of the sampling heads to allow conversion of the HT to HTO that is subsequently collected in the sink, (HTO), in the bottom of the sampler. After an appropriate sampling time, liquid scintillation cocktail is added to the vial and the activity collected determined by liquid scintillation analysis. When used in conjunction with the conventional HTO passive sampler the difference between the total and HTO samplers can be used to determine the HT fraction ((HT+HTO) - HTO HT). The sampling rates for the modified diffusion sampler were measured to be 4.6 and 8.1 L/d for HTO and HT, respectively. For a fifteen-minute sampling period, passive samplers can be used to measure tritium activity concentrations from 37 kBq/m3 to 115 MBq/m3.

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