The Savannah River Tritium Plant (TP) relies on well understood but aging sensor technology for process gas analysis. Although new sensor technologies have been brought to various readiness levels, the TP has been reluctant to install technologies that have not been tested in tritium service. This gap between sensor development and incorporating new technologies into practical applications demonstrates fundamental challenges that exist when transitioning from status quo to state-of-the-art in an extreme environment such as a tritium plant. These challenges stem from three root obstacles: 1) The necessity for a comprehensive assessment of process sensing needs and requirements; 2) The lack of a pick-list of process-compatible sensor technologies; and 3) The need to test sensors in a tritium-contaminated process environment without risking production.

At Savannah River, these issues are being addressed in a two phase project. In the first phase, TP sensing requirements were determined by a team of process experts. Meanwhile, Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) sensor experts identified candidate technologies and related them to the TP processing requirements. The resulting roadmap links the candidate technologies to actual plant needs. To provide accurate assessments of how a candidate sensor technology would perform in a contaminated process environment, an instrument demonstration station was established within a TP glove box. This station was fabricated to TP process requirements and designed to handle high activity samples. The combination of roadmap and demonstration station provides the following assets:

• Creates a partnership between the process engineers and researchers for sensor selection, maturation, and insertion

• Selects the right sensors for process conditions

• Provides a means for safely inserting new sensor technology into the process without risking production, and

• Provides a means to evaluate off normal occurrences where and when they occur.

This paper discusses the process to identify and demonstrate new sensor technologies for the Savannah River TP.