Modeling the Behavior of Tritium
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DOE-HDBK-1132-99
order to adjust to the new equilibrium conditions by readjusting to the naturally
occurring isotopic ratios. Thus, we get reactions of the type
CH4 + 2T2 W CT4 + 2H2 ,
(5a)
W  2HTO + H
and
2H2O + T2
.
(6a)
2
The inverse situation also applies in that, when the background tritium levels
are decreased in nature, the reactions will be shifted back to the left, by again
readjusting to the naturally occurring isotopic ratios; i.e.,
W  CT
CH4 + 2T2
+ 2H2 ,
(5)
4
W  2HTO + H
and
2H2O + T2
.
(6)
2
By itself, Le Chatelier' Principle is a very powerful tool. When applied
s
singularly, or to a sequential set of reactions like those depicted in Equations
(5), (5a), and (5) again, and/or (6), (6a), and (6) again, Le Chatelier' Principle
s
shows that exchange reactions of the types depicted above tend to behave as
springs, constantly flexing back-and-forth, constantly readjusting to changing
energy requirements, in a constantly changing attempt to establish a new set of
equilibrium conditions.
Since elemental regardless of its form (H  2, D2, T2, and all
combinations thereof), can be expected to dissolve to some extent in virtually
all materials, Le Chatelier' Principle can be expected to work equally as well
s
on solubility reactions, like those shown above in the generic Equations (4a),
(4b), and (4c). These will be covered in more detail under the heading of Bulk
Contamination Modeling (see below).
Modeling the Behavior of Tritium . Any model of the behavior of tritium starts
2.10.6
with the assumption that all three hydrogen isotopes coexist in nature, in
equilibrium with each other, in the nominal isotopic ratios described above in
I-97

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