Tritium studies

Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen produced naturally from the interaction of cosmic rays. It is also a by-product of nuclear power generation, including in Canada’s fleet of CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactors. This has allowed Canada to develop considerable expertise in the research and management of tritium.

Tritium Studies Project

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has studied tritium extensively. In January 2007, the Commission directed CNSC staff to initiate research studies on tritium releases in Canada, and to study and evaluate the practices of Canadian tritium processing facilities with respect to international standards. In response, the CNSC led several research initiatives as part of the Tritium Studies Project, which has helped shape Canadian regulatory oversight of tritium processing and tritium releases.

The following studies and documents resulted from the Tritium Studies Project:

Other Canadian research

The CNSC continues to support and participate in tritium research through its internal research and support program and through research activities funded under the Federal Nuclear Science and Technology Plan The following are some examples of Canadian tritium research and reports published since 2011.

Year published Title Academic journal or conference
2021 Tritium in Laurentian Great Lakes surface waters Journal of Great Lakes Research
2021 Experimental investigation of D2 conversion to DHO in soil near the Cernavoda nuclear power plant site in Romania Applied Radiation and Isotopes
2020 Fate and transport of tritium in the Laurentian Great Lakes system Journal of Great Lakes Research
2019 Correlated responses for DNA damage, phagocytosis activity and lysosomal function revealed in a comparison between field and laboratory studies: Fathead minnow exposed to tritium Science of the Total Environment
2019 Cellular Responses to Tritium Exposure In Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss) reared in tritiated water and/or fed organically bound tritium Applied Radiation and Isotopes
2019 Distribution of organically bound tritium (OBT) activity concentrations in aquatic biota from eastern Canada Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2019 Organically bound tritium (OBT) activity concentrations in surface soil at the Chalk River Laboratories, Canada Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2018 In vivo animal studies help achieve international consensus on standards and guidelines for health risk estimates for chronic exposure to low levels of tritium in drinking water* Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
2018 Independent environmental monitoring and public dose assessment around the Canadian nuclear power plants* Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
2018 Feedback of the third interlaboratory exercise organised on wheat in the framework of the OBT working group Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2018 Permafrost thaw and implications for the fate and transport of tritium in the Canadian north Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2018 Cytogenetic damage analysis in mice chronically exposed to low-dose internal tritium beta-particle radiation Oncotarget
2018 Tritium in fish from remote lakes in northwestern Ontario, Canada Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2018 A new reference material for tritium organic molecules in sediment: Results of an international intercomparison exercise Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research
2017 Role of tritiated hydrogen in formation of HTO and OBT in soil and vegetation in vicinity of a tritium processing facility* 4th International Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity
2017 International standards on food and environmental radioactivity measurement for radiological protection: Status and perspectives Radiation Protection Dosimetry
2017 Characteristics of the combustion water of organically bound tritium (OBT) measurements of fish samples Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
2017 Effects of in situ exposure to tritiated natural environments: A multi-biomarker approach using the fathead minnow, Pimephales Promelas Science of the Total Environment
2017 A new bomb-combustion system for tritium extraction Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
2017 Role of soil-to-leaf tritium transfer in controlling leaf tritium dynamics: Comparison of experimental garden and tritium-transfer model results* Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2016 Cellular responses to tritium exposure in rainbow trout: HTO- and OBT-spiked feed exposure experiments CNL Nuclear Review
2016 Evaluation of long term environmental tritium reemissions following reactor shut-down 3rd Canadian Conference on Nuclear Waste Management, Decommissioning and Environmental Restoration
2016 Biological effects of tritium on fish cells in the concentration range of international drinking water standards International Journal of Radiation Biology
2016 Changes in HTO and OBT activity concentrations in the Perch Lake aquatic ecosystem Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2016 Field testing and intercomparison of advanced tritium transfer models* 11th International Conference on Tritium Science and Technology
2016 Tritium dynamics in soils and plants grown under three irrigation regimes at a tritium processing facility in Canada* Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2016 Tritium – Competitive reaction in cyclotrons F-18 production – Regulatory implications* Meeting of the Task Force on Shielding Aspects of Accelerators, Targets and Irradiation Facilities
2015 Higher tritium concentrations measured in permafrost thaw lakes in northern Alberta Hydrological Processes
2015 Organically bound tritium analysis in environmental samples Fusion Science and Technology
2015 Tritium uptake in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): HTO and OBT-spiked feed exposures simultaneously Applied Radiation and Isotopes
2015 OBT analysis method using polyethylene beads for limited quantities of animal tissue Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2015 In situ measurements of tritium evapotranspiration (3H-ET) flux over grass and soil using the gradient and eddy covariance experimental methods and the FAO-56 model* Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2015 Canadian inter-laboratory organically bound tritium (OBT) analysis exercise Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2014 Tritium dynamics in soils and plants at a tritium processing facility in Canada* 3rd International Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity
2014 Levels of tritium in soils and vegetation near Canadian nuclear facilities releasing tritium to the atmosphere: Implications for environmental models* Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2012 Tritium, health effects and dosimetry* Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology
2011 Review of the knowledge available to date on the effects of tritium exposure on health and the environment in Canada – A tool to guide regulatory compliance monitoring* Radioprotection
2011 Tritium releases from Canadian nuclear facilities – Synthesis and associated controls* Tritium seminar between the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the University of Ottawa and the Institut de Radioprotection et Sûreté Nucléaire

*Indicates contributions from CNSC researcher

General inquiries

cnsc.info.ccsn@cnsc-ccsn.gc.ca
Telephone: 613-995-5894 or
1-800-668-5284 (toll-free in Canada and the U.S.)
Fax: 613-995-5086

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