Computation and comparison of Pd-based membrane reactor performances for water gas shift reaction and isotope swamping in view of highly tritiated water decontamination

Alessia Santucci, Claudio Rizzello, Silvano Tosti

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In a D-T fusion machine, due to the possible reaction between tritium and oxygen, some potential sources of highly tritiated water (HTW) can be identified. Therefore, a dedicated detritiation process has to be assessed either for economic and safety reasons. In this view, the use of a Pd-based membrane reactor performing isotopic exchange reactions can be considered since hydrogen isotopes exclusively permeate the Pd-Ag membrane and their exchange over the catalyst realizes the water detritiation. In this activity, the treatment of highly tritiated water, generated by an ITER-like machine (i.e. 2 kg of stoichiometric HTO containing up to 300 g of tritium), via a Pd-membrane reactor is studied in terms of decontamination capability. Especially, a parametric analysis of two processes (water gas shift and isotopic swamping) performed in a Pd-based membrane reactor is carried out by using two mathematical models previously developed and experimentally verified. Particularly, the effect of the reactor temperature, the membrane thickness, the reaction pressure and the protium sweep flow-rate is investigated. Moreover, a comparison in terms of the decontamination factor and the number of reactors necessary to detritiate the HTW are provided. Generally, the results reveal a higher decontamination capability of the WGS reaction respect with the IS (maximum DF values of about 120 and 1.6 in the case of WGS and IS, respectively). However some drawbacks, mainly related with the formation of tritiated species, can occur by performing the WGS. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2413 - 2416
Number of pages4
JournalFusion Engineering and Design
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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