Trip Report Industrial Health Survey of Mound Laboratory Page: 4 of 10
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Action on Previous Recommendation. The last eurvey report recommended that an
effective system for the reduction of tritium omissions to the atmosphere should
be installed as expeditiously as possible. Action has been taken to effect the
installation of such a system and it is anticipated that the tritium stack
recovery unit will be in operation by April 1, 1963. Installation of the
$50,000 system was complete at the time of this survey except for a few
electrical connections and electronic parts. Leak testing and start up of
operations are scheduled for the early part of March 1963.
The tritium stack recovery system has a throughput capacity of 2,100 liters per
hour on the basis of continuous operation and will exhaust to the B Building
stack. It is basically similar to the system in use at the Savannah River Plant
and also utilizes the same principle as the system at the Pinellas Plant.
Exhaust air will be collected from vacuum pumps and other tritium processing
operations that are believed to be responsible for about 90% of currant tritium
releases to the atmosphere. Due to the very large volume that would be
involved, it is not practical to process all of the air that might contain very
low level contamination.
The manifold collection header will operate at a negative pressure of about two
or three inches of water with respect to room atmospheric pressure. Any leakage
should therefore be into the system rather than out of it. Two compressors,
either one of which can normally handle the full load, will pump contaminated
air from the manifold header to a 1,500 gallon tani' and maintain a pressure of
20 to 30 psi in the tank. From there, air will flow through charcoal and
aluminum oxide filters to remove all oil and other organic materials. It will
then flow through a Hopcalite bed, in a furnace, maintained at about 5000 C.
Hopcalite is an MgA development and consists of copper oxide and manganese oxide
in a replaceable cartridge. The manganese oxide tends to activate the copper
oxide and keep it more effective in the oxidation of tritium and other isotopes
The air containing tritium oxide will than pass through a set of General
Dynamics Dryers (two in parallel). This is a type of molecular sieve that is
believed to be very effective. The air will next be routed to another set of
molecular sieve No. 5A dryer. (two in parallel) made by Linde Air Products
Company. This second set of dryers will remove more moisture and act as a back
up to the first set. The decontaminated air will then pass through an
ionization chamber and on to the B Building exhaust stack, or if necessary it
can be routed for repeocessing through the system yain.
One dryer in each set can be regenerated while the other one is in use. The
water, containing tritium, will be collected in a condenser during the
regeneration cycle. ?4any safety and control devices have been built into the
system. These include an explosive mixture detector; flash back arrestors;
pressure, temperature and flow rate control devices; and a radiation monitor for
exhaust air. If the system operates as anticipated, a substantial reduction in
tritium emission to the atmosphere will be achieved.
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Davis, C.E. Trip Report Industrial Health Survey of Mound Laboratory, report, March 19, 1963; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc929562/m1/4/: accessed January 15, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.