Description: An object of the present invention is to provide a method for separating and recovering hydrogen isotopes that avoids the disadvantages of the prior art, is more simple, and allows for continuous hydrogen isotope separation and recovery. The disclosed invention does not require the use of isotope exchange reaction catalysts and/or hydrogen sulfide gas. The present invention achieves the advantages of the thermal diffusion and the chemical exchange processes. The disclosed invention provides a method for separating and recovering hydrogen isotopes from a fluid containing the hydrogen isotopes by providing counter-current cold and hot streams of the fluid containing the hydrogen isotopes separated by a proton exchange membrane made of thermally insulating and chemically transparent material that allows exchange of heavy and light hydrogen isotopes there through. The heavier isotopes migrate to the cold stream producing a deuterium and tritium-enriched fluid, while lighter isotopes migrate to the hot stream producing a lighter isotope-enriched fluid. The heavy and light isotopes are withdrawn from the cold and hot streams respectively. According to the present invention, the fluid is water or hydrogen gas, and the desired hydrogen isotope species are deuterium and/or tritium. Further, according to the present invention, the streams of said high and low temperature fluids are interconnected at their respective top and bottom ends forming a continuous loop, and a feed stream is provided at an intermediate portion of either hot or cold stream to feed the process.
Date: February 28, 2000
Creator: Lee, Myung, W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department