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Tritium Facilities
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Sources of Tritium cont'd - hdbk1132990104


DOE-HDBK-1132-99
By the early 1970s, entirely new facility designs began to emerge. Having
adapted to the lessons learned from the earlier operational changes, these
newer facility designs also placed the bulk of the equipment that handled
substantial quantities of tritium into gloveboxes. Rather than having
individualized glovebox cleanup systems, the cleanup systems used in the
newer facility designs heavily emphasized the use of a centralized cleanup
system for glovebox operations. Evacuable covers were sometimes placed
over glovebox glove ports to minimize the potential for permeation from the
gloveboxes to the working rooms. Additional cleanup systems were installed to
handle the emissions from the glove port covers and other vacuum systems
that were not compatible with the centralized glovebox cleanup system. Real-
time monitoring capabilities were added to the gloveboxes and cleanup
systems to track their respective reliabilities. Rapid response, real-time
monitoring capabilities were added to the room air monitoring capabilities to
protect the worker further. Rapid response, real-time monitoring capabilities
were also added to the stack exhaust monitoring capabilities to more reliably
monitor releases to the environment. And, in some cases, specialized cleanup
systems were added at the room air ventilation level to allow for the cleanup of
large releases into a working room, before the tritium released into the
ventilation system was finally released to the stack.
With more than 25 years of operational experience with various types of newer
facility designs, it is clear that the bulk of the emissions from all tritium facilities
over the last 25 years have come from the background emissions of the
facilities themselves.
To better understand how these emissions come about, an appreciation for the
behavior of tritium in the facilities is necessary. Once understood, prospective
designers and engineers will begin to understand what they can and cannot
control through design innovations and techniques.
Sources of Tritium . Tritium is the lightest of the naturally occurring radioactive
2.10.2
nuclides. Tritium is produced in the upper atmosphere as a result of cascade
I-87


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