Type 316 stainless steel specimens loaded with tritium either by exposure to 1.2 kPa HT at 573 K or submersion into liquid HTO at 298 K showed characteristic thin surface layers trapping tritium in concentrations far higher than those determined in the bulk. The evolution of the tritium depth profile in the bulk during heating under vacuum was non-discernable from that of tritium liberated into a stream of argon. Only the relative amount of the two released tritium-species, i.e. HT or HTO, was different. Temperature-dependent depth profiles could be predicted with a one-dimensional diffusion model. Diffusion coefficients derived from fitting of the tritium release into an evacuated vessel or a stream of argon were found to be (1.4 ± 1.0)×10-7 and (1.3 ± 0.9) × 10-9 cm2/s at 573 and 423 K, respectively. Polished surfaces on type SS316 stainless steel inhibit considerably the thermal release rate of tritium.