Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter (O) May 18, 2021

Optimization and validation of a procedure for the determination of tritium in gaseous effluents from nuclear power plants

Marko Štrok and Barbara Svetek
From the journal Radiochimica Acta


The optimization and validation of a procedure for the determination of tritium from gaseous effluents from a nuclear power plant is described. Optimization included performance assessment of silica gel and a molecular sieve as a material for the adsorption of water moisture from air for continuous tritium sampling. In addition, the usability of such a system for monitoring tritium in laboratory air for low-level tritium measurements was assessed. The molecular sieve showed better performance, with an average desorption efficiency of 95% compared to 78% achieved with silica gel. The memory effect was also lower and more reproducible for the molecular sieve, amounting to 7% on average compared to 35% attained for silica gel. Measurement of low-level tritium in air showed the importance of prior checks of intrinsic tritium levels in the molecular sieve as due to that erroneous results could be produced.

Corresponding author: Marko Štrok, Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova cesta 39, SI-1000Ljubljana, Slovenia, E-mail:

Funding source: Javna Agencija za Raziskovalno Dejavnost RS

Award Identifier / Grant number: P2-0075, P1-0143


The authors thank Vekoslava Stibilj for her advice and help in performing the research activities.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: Funding from the Slovenian Research Agency (Research programmes P1-0143 and P2-0075) is acknowledged.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


1. CNSC. Investigation of the Environmental Fate of Tritium in the Atmosphere; Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission: Ottawa, 2009. INFO-0792.Search in Google Scholar

2. Lin, C. C. Radiochemistry in Nuclear Power Reactors; National Academy Press: Washington, D.C, 1996.Search in Google Scholar

3. WHO. Environmental Health Criteria 25; World Health Organization: Geneva, 1983.Search in Google Scholar

4. Štrok, M. Tritium emissions from nuclear installations. In Tritium: Advances in Research and Applications; Janković, M. M., Ed. Nova Science Publishers: New York, 2018.Search in Google Scholar

5. Marmaro, G. M. An Intercomparison of Airborne Tritium Vapor Sampling Methods at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Master thesis, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, 1973; in Google Scholar

6. Straight, R. J. HT-HTO sampling at the Nevada test site. In Behaviour of Tritium in the Environment, Proceedings of a Symposium; IAEA and NEA (OECD), IAEA: San Francisco, 1979.Search in Google Scholar

7. Brown, R., Meyer, H. E., Robinson, B., Sheehan, W. E. Ruggedized ultrasensitive field air sampler for differentially determining tritium oxide and gas in ambient air atmosphere. In 3. International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association Meeting. Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Snyder, W. S., Ed. International Radiation Protection Association: Washington, D.C. (USA), 1973; pp. 1434–1439.Search in Google Scholar

8. Simionov, V., Duliu, O. G. Atmospheric tritium dynamics around Cernavoda nuclear power plant. Rom. Rep. Phys. 2010, 62, 827–837.Search in Google Scholar

9. Tanaka, M., Kato, H., Yamamoto, Y., Iwata, C. Development of an active tritium sampler for discriminating chemical forms without the use of combustion gases in a fusion test facility. Appl. Radiat. Isot. 2017, 125, 53–59; in Google Scholar PubMed

10. Edao, Y., Iwai, Y., Sato, K., Hayashi, T. Performance of tritium analysis system using inorganic-based hydrophobic platinum catalyst. Fusion Eng. Des. 2017, 124, 818–821; in Google Scholar

11. Osborne, R. V. Development of a monitor for tritiated water vapour in the presence of noble gases. AECL Atomic Energy Can. Ltd. Rep. 1972, 4303.Search in Google Scholar

12. Osborne, R. V. Central tritium monitor for CANDU nuclear power stations. IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 1975, 22, 676–680; in Google Scholar

Received: 2021-03-23
Accepted: 2021-05-04
Published Online: 2021-05-18
Published in Print: 2021-07-27

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Scroll Up Arrow