A nominal 1500 STP-L PAssively Cooled, Electrically heated hydride (PACE) Bed has been developed for implementation into a new Savannah River Site tritium project. The 1.2 meter (four-foot) long process vessel contains on internal "U-tube" for tritium In-Bed Accountability (IBA) measurements. IBA will be performed on six, 12.6 kg production metal hydride storage beds.

IBA tests were done on a prototype bed using electric heaters to simulate the radiolytic decay of tritium. Tests had gas flows from 10 to 100 SLPM through the U-tube or 100 SLPM through the bed's vacuum jacket. IBA inventory measurement errors at the 95% confidence level were calculated using the correlation of IBA gas temperature rise, or (hydride) bed temperature rise above ambient temperature, versus simulated tritium inventory.

Prototype bed IBA inventory errors at 100 SLPM were the largest for gas flows through the vacuum jacket: 15.2 grams for the bed temperature rise and 11.5 grams for the gas temperature rise. For a 100 SLPM U-tube flow, the inventory error was 2.5 grams using bed temperature rise and 1.6 grams using gas temperature rise. For 50 to 100 SLPM U-tube flows, the IBA gas temperature rise inventory errors were nominally one to two grams that increased above four grams for flows less than 50 SLPM. For 50 to 100 SLPM U-tube flows, the IBA bed temperature rise inventory errors were greater than the gas temperature rise errors, but similar errors were found for both methods at gas flows of 20, 30, and 40 SLPM.

Electric heater IBA tests were done for six production hydride beds using a 45 SLPM U-tube gas flow. Of the duplicate runs performed on these beds, five of the six beds produced IBA inventory errors of approximately three grams: consistent with results obtained in the laboratory prototype tests.