Inderscience Publishers

Tritium migration in nuclear desalination plants

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

Tritium transport, as one of important items of radiation safety assessment, should be taken into consideration before construction of a Nuclear Desalination Plant (NDP). The influence of tritium internal exposition to the human body is very dangerous because of 3H associations with water molecules. The problem of tritium in nuclear engineering is connected to its high penetration ability (through fuel element cans and other construction materials of a reactor), with the difficulty of extracting tritium from process liquids and gases. Sources of tritium generation in NDP are: nuclear fuel, boron in control rods, and deuterium in heat carrier. Tritium passes easily through the walls of a reactor vessel, intermediate heat exchangers, steam generators and other technological equipment, through the walls of heat carrier pipelines. The release of tritium and its transport could be assessed, using mathematical models, based on the assumption that steady state equilibrium has been attained between the sources of tritium, produced water and release to the environment. Analysis of the model shows the tritium concentration dependence in potable water on design features of NDP. The calculations obtained and analysis results for NDP with BN-350 reactor give good convergence. According to the available data, tritium concentration in potable water is less than the statutory maximum concentration limit. The design of a NDP requires elaboration of technical solutions, capable of minimising the release of tritium to potable water produced.

Keywords: tritium, migration, LMRW, BN-350, safety analysis, nuclear desalination

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