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Current Tritium Sources - USA?

Cyparagon

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The output is not really monochromatic like a laser, but not an overly broad spectrum either. It could be comparable to that of a colored LED.
It is MUCH broader than an LED. It is very close in color/spectrum to glow-in-the-dark material.

Here is a spectrograph I took of my 6 inch vial a while back. The spikes are just noise from the 40-second exposure that was required.

 
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Benm

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That is indeed broader than i expected, especially at the red end of the spectrum where it tapers off slowly.

I'm not sure that they are all like that though, different phosphors could be used to convert te beta radiation into visible light, perhaps some with more narrow spectra.

It is difficult to tell by eye though as these things are so dim you more or less need to be in a dark environment to see the color at all.

I'd like to see them bigger and with tritium in non-gas state (tritiated water would absorb the beta radiation, but perhaps other compounds would not). This is probably not likely since tritium is rare and hence expensive.

This is unlikely to change unless nuclear fusion power is adopted, requiring producting of large amounts from lithium by neutron bombardment.
 

paul1598419

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I believe the going price is $30,000.00/gram. Sounds like a lot, but it takes so little to make the vials that I'm sure people are making a tidy profit.
 

Benm

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It doesn't take much indeed, but you need to source it regardless.

Prices on these things don't mean that much either:

If it's 30k per gram, 30 million should get me a kilogram, right? That would be pretty hard to source.

Then again if if i wanted to have a metric ton of it, priced at 30 billion, it would be worth to actually making it by putting lithium-6 in reactor control rods and make the neutrons convert it to tritium.

The latter has actually been done 10 years or so ago in the US, to create some tritium that is used as a booster in primary nuclear weapons. The second stage makes it's own from lithium deuteride - much of the tritium on earth actually comes from hydrogen bomb tests performed long ago, which is not the best source since the half life is only 12 years.
 

paul1598419

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... much of the tritium on earth actually comes from hydrogen bomb tests performed long ago, which is not the best source since the half life is only 12 years.
I believe the highest source of atmospheric tritium is cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere and it is pretty much at equilibrium as the half life is so short.
 

Encap

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The largest producer and supplier/seller of Tritium is Ontario Hydro.
Thee Canadian CANDU reactor system produces 2400 times as much tritium as the American light water reactor as a byproduct.
They sell tritium at $15 Million/kg as a waste product which is a bargain considering dedicated purpose production of tritium costs in the range $84,000 to $130,000 per gram, depending on actual production requirement, and excess tritium would simply decay without being used according to the Fusion Science and Technology Center at UCLA.

This is why, in part, the SRBT Inc.(Canada) world's leader in self-powered emergency Lighting and self powered exit signs and gaseous tritium light sources production facility and HQ is now located in Canada rather than England where Saunders-Roe Brandhurst Technologies and production facilities were formerly located.

See: SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc
 
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ElectricPlasma

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That's interesting Encap, I didn't know there was that much tritium production in Ontario.

Paul, it seems to be a download link, I got a direct download power-point file, doesn't look like there's a web page.
 

Encap

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That's interesting Encap, I didn't know there was that much tritium production in Ontario.

Paul, it seems to be a download link, I got a direct download power-point file, doesn't look like there's a web page.
Yes you need a MS Powerpoint viewer, so I removed the link because not everyone has a viewer.

Ontario Hydro has nine operating heavy water upgraders and has constructed the world's largest tritium removal facility, with a design removal capacity of 24 MCi/yr.

Tritium is generated in the fuel of all reactors; however, CANDU ((CANadian Deuterium Uranium) ) reactors generate tritium also in their coolant and moderator, due to neutron capture in heavy hydrogen.

See about Ontario Hydro tritium removal facility Darlington here: https://canteach.candu.org/Content%20Library/NJC-1-4-12.pdf
 
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paul1598419

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Yes, I got that. I also knew that Canada was the world's supplier of tritium before today. It is because of the heavy water reactors they use that tritium is a waste product. They started using these types of reactors many years ago so they didn't need to enrich their U238 as much.
 

IsaacT

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It is MUCH broader than an LED. It is very close in color/spectrum to glow-in-the-dark material.

Here is a spectrograph I took of my 6 inch vial a while back. The spikes are just noise from the 40-second exposure that was required.

This is awesome info, thank you for sharing! What is the Y-axis units, if you don't mind my asking?
 

Benm

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CANDU type reactors produce tritium indeed, since they expose large volumes of heavy water to intense neutron bombardment. This is not really a problem for the reactor, but if commerically viable the tritium produced can be extracted from the system.

Another source are installations that concentrate deuterium oxide from sea water (so it can be used for the candu reactors) that capture tritiated water as well.

This tritium came for nuclear weapons tests and got mixed in the ocean though, most tritium on earth is the result of human actions. The isotope doesn't really occur in nature due to it's very short half life on a geological scale. It cannot be mined from sediment or anything like that.
 

paul1598419

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CANDU type reactors produce tritium indeed, since they expose large volumes of heavy water to intense neutron bombardment. This is not really a problem for the reactor, but if commerically viable the tritium produced can be extracted from the system.

Another source are installations that concentrate deuterium oxide from sea water (so it can be used for the candu reactors) that capture tritiated water as well.

This tritium came for nuclear weapons tests and got mixed in the ocean though, most tritium on earth is the result of human actions. The isotope doesn't really occur in nature due to it's very short half life on a geological scale. It cannot be mined from sediment or anything like that.
Tritium does occur in nature in the upper atmosphere when cosmic rays react with the gases there. The most important reaction is when a fast moving neutron interacts with atmospheric nitrogen . N14 +n -> C12 + T3. This causes the total atmospheric tritium to be at equilibrium because the amount produced is constant and tritium has such a short halfd life.
 

Benm

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Tritium does occur in nature in the upper atmosphere when cosmic rays react with the gases there. The most important reaction is when a fast moving neutron interacts with atmospheric nitrogen . N14 +n -> C12 + T3. This causes the total atmospheric tritium to be at equilibrium because the amount produced is constant and tritium has such a short halfd life.
I wonder how much of that actually makes it down to the ground though.

Such an interaction produces tritium atoms, probably radicals, that would need to bind with something relatively heavy to make it diffuse into the atmosphere. If it does not react it will escape the atmosphere since it is light enough to do so (like helium or molecular hydrogen).

Honestly I am not sure how much of the tritium found on the surface of the earth and the oceans actually is from cosmic ray origin. I've always understood that the very vast majority (like 99+%) of tritium in ocean water and such was produced by nuclear bomb tests.

Afaik the amount of tritium in a sample can actually be used to determine age to some dergree, at least to something being older than the massive scale nuclear tests in the 1960s or thereabouts.
 

paul1598419

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I know they use T2O and THO to measure the amount of ocean water that is on the surface that mixes with deep ocean water. I think the samples are taken from the deep ocean. Atmospheric tritium is mostly there because of cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere. It is heavier than H+. Don't know the mechanism for it getting to the lower atmosphere, but above ground nuclear testing hasn't been done on a large scale since the 1960s or 1970s.
 




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