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DOE-HDBK-1105-2002
Radiological Training for Tritium Facilities
Student's Guide
Notes
G. Fusion
Fusion is the process of two nuclei joining
together. The energy source in most stars is
nuclear fusion of hydrogen isotopes.
SOURCES AND USES OF TRITIUM
How is tritium produced and what is it used for?
A. Sources of Tritium
There are three primary sources of tritium in
our environment. Tritium is present in our
environment from both man-made and
natural sources as discussed below. Natural
tritium is indistinguishable from man-made
tritium.
1.
Natural Sources
Tritium occurs naturally. It is formed
by the reactions between cosmic rays
and the nitrogen in the upper
atmosphere. Nitrogen makes up 80%
of the earths atmosphere.
Cosmic rays generate approximately 4
million curies of tritium per year. With
tritium being continually produced and
at the same time decaying, the natural
tritium in our environment is about 70
million curies.
8


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