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Title: IN-SITU TRITIUM BETA DETECTOR

Abstract

The objectives of this three-phase project were to design, develop, and demonstrate a monitoring system capable of detecting and quantifying tritium in situ in ground and surface waters, and in water from effluent lines prior to discharge into public waterways. The tritium detection system design is based on measurement of the low energy beta radiation from the radioactive decay of tritium using a special form of scintillating optical fiber directly in contact with the water to be measured. The system consists of the immersible sensor module containing the optical fiber, and an electronics package, connected by an umbilical cable. The system can be permanently installed for routine water monitoring in wells or process or effluent lines, or can be moved from one location to another for survey use. The electronics will read out tritium activity directly in units of pico Curies per liter, with straightforward calibration. In Phase 1 of the project, we characterized the sensitivity of fluor-doped plastic optical fiber to tritium beta radiation. In addition, we characterized the performance of photomultiplier tubes needed for the system. In parallel with this work, we defined the functional requirements, target specifications, and system configuration for an in situ tritium beta detectormore » that would use the fluor-doped fibers as primary sensors of tritium concentration in water. The major conclusions from the characterization work are: A polystyrene optical fiber with fluor dopant concentration of 2% gave best performance. This fiber had the highest dopant concentration of any fibers tested. Stability may be a problem. The fibers exposed to a 22-day soak in 120 F water experienced a 10x reduction in sensitivity. It is not known whether this was due to the build up of a deposit (a potentially reversible effect) or an irreversible process such as leaching of the scintillating dye. Based on the results achieved, it is premature to initiate Phase 2 and commit to a prototype design for construction and test. Significant improvements must be made in fluor-doped fiber performance in order to use the method for in situ monitoring to verify compliance with current EPA drinking water standards. Additional Phase 1 fiber development work should be performed to increase the fluor dopant concentration above 2% until the self-absorption limit is observed. Continued fiber optimization work is expected to improve the sensitivity limits, and will enable application of the detector to verify compliance with the US EPA drinking water standard of 20,000 pico Curies per liter. However, if the need for monitoring higher levels of tritium in water at concentrations greater than 200,000 pico Curies per liter is justified, then prototype development and testing could proceed either as a Phase 2 stand-alone effort or in parallel with continued Phase 1 development work.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
McDermott Technology, Inc. (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
(US)
OSTI Identifier:
836625
DOE Contract Number:  
AC21-96MC33128
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 15 Apr 1998
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; RADIATION MONITORS; DESIGN; PERFORMANCE TESTING; CALIBRATION; RADIATION MONITORING; PHOTOMULTIPLIERS; SURFACE WATERS; TRITIUM; GROUND WATER; LIQUID WASTES; BETA DETECTION

Citation Formats

J.W. Berthold, and L.A. Jeffers. IN-SITU TRITIUM BETA DETECTOR. United States: N. p., 1998. Web. doi:10.2172/836625.
J.W. Berthold, & L.A. Jeffers. IN-SITU TRITIUM BETA DETECTOR. United States. doi:10.2172/836625.
J.W. Berthold, and L.A. Jeffers. Wed . "IN-SITU TRITIUM BETA DETECTOR". United States. doi:10.2172/836625. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/836625.
@article{osti_836625,
title = {IN-SITU TRITIUM BETA DETECTOR},
author = {J.W. Berthold and L.A. Jeffers},
abstractNote = {The objectives of this three-phase project were to design, develop, and demonstrate a monitoring system capable of detecting and quantifying tritium in situ in ground and surface waters, and in water from effluent lines prior to discharge into public waterways. The tritium detection system design is based on measurement of the low energy beta radiation from the radioactive decay of tritium using a special form of scintillating optical fiber directly in contact with the water to be measured. The system consists of the immersible sensor module containing the optical fiber, and an electronics package, connected by an umbilical cable. The system can be permanently installed for routine water monitoring in wells or process or effluent lines, or can be moved from one location to another for survey use. The electronics will read out tritium activity directly in units of pico Curies per liter, with straightforward calibration. In Phase 1 of the project, we characterized the sensitivity of fluor-doped plastic optical fiber to tritium beta radiation. In addition, we characterized the performance of photomultiplier tubes needed for the system. In parallel with this work, we defined the functional requirements, target specifications, and system configuration for an in situ tritium beta detector that would use the fluor-doped fibers as primary sensors of tritium concentration in water. The major conclusions from the characterization work are: A polystyrene optical fiber with fluor dopant concentration of 2% gave best performance. This fiber had the highest dopant concentration of any fibers tested. Stability may be a problem. The fibers exposed to a 22-day soak in 120 F water experienced a 10x reduction in sensitivity. It is not known whether this was due to the build up of a deposit (a potentially reversible effect) or an irreversible process such as leaching of the scintillating dye. Based on the results achieved, it is premature to initiate Phase 2 and commit to a prototype design for construction and test. Significant improvements must be made in fluor-doped fiber performance in order to use the method for in situ monitoring to verify compliance with current EPA drinking water standards. Additional Phase 1 fiber development work should be performed to increase the fluor dopant concentration above 2% until the self-absorption limit is observed. Continued fiber optimization work is expected to improve the sensitivity limits, and will enable application of the detector to verify compliance with the US EPA drinking water standard of 20,000 pico Curies per liter. However, if the need for monitoring higher levels of tritium in water at concentrations greater than 200,000 pico Curies per liter is justified, then prototype development and testing could proceed either as a Phase 2 stand-alone effort or in parallel with continued Phase 1 development work.},
doi = {10.2172/836625},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1998},
month = {4}
}