Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: Re: Tritium sources
Date: Jun 15, 10:59 am
Poster: Richard Hull

On Jun 15, 10:59 am, Richard Hull wrote:

Stephen, All,

I have a lot of info on all that you ask.

The tritium signs are owned by you, you buy them outright. The manufacturer has a license to load and sell these signs with Tritium and market them for commercial use. The signs are sealed totally (welded or fused plastic), many are encapsulated in epoxy. All such sinage is serially numbered for government tracing purposes.

At the time of sale, you are logged as an assignor to their tritium license and full data is taken such as your name and address and your signature is required on a government NRC document (user license transferal). This document is maintained by the seller at their site, and can be inspected by the Feds. You are under the unbrella of their license so far as the NRC is concerned.

You may not transfer, resell, disgard or dismantle the sign, by law. The sign may be in only one of two places at your location ready for inspection and serial # check...., Or returned for disposal to the original seller-license holder only!!!

The manufacturers are most careful in protecting their license and follow the letter of the law.

The purchase of these signs go in waves. Years ago, they were all the rage. Then the RAD fear pendulum swung many institutions away from using the signs due to record keeping and possible finger pointing for allowing a rad hazard on site. Currently, there is a revival of sorts and the signs are appearing in a number of motel chains, airports commercial aircraft, etc.

The zero maintainence, no battery backup, no power needed aspect attracts a lot of interest. The price holds low budget operations back, however.

Tritium powered light sources are commonly made into exit signs with aisle markers and pointers also becoming common. The largest and brightest "betalights" are runway markers at a few major airports. Tritium is also used in official Russian, Swiss, and US military watches, as well as gun and bow sights for both military and civilian uses.

The world's largest tritium suppliers, (kilo-megacuries) per year are Canada and India. The US can barely keep up production to feed its aging stockpile of H bombs.

I must come out against utilizing this method of obtaining tritium. It is dangerous and illegal.

Richard Hull


Stephan wrote:

Tritium signs are available from sources other than McMaster, price unknown. Would they be an adequate source of Tritium, Would it be legal? How might one retrieve the Tritium without contamination/loss? Is it worth the expense/danger/hassle? Too many questions. What is the real ownership status of the lights, are they owned outright by the buyer or are they required to be returned at the end of their useful life. Having worked in the production of microwave ovens (don't laugh, they are listed as "radiation emitting devices") I've witnessed some of the Governments "long arm" in controlling radioactive devices. It seems you might be required to provide proper user documentation no matter what your source may be and if that were to be the case, may as well by it from a direct source. Does anyone know the legal ramifications of acquiring from a secondary source?