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, 4:55 pm
Poster: Richard Hull

On Jun 15, 4:55 pm, Richard Hull wrote:

>So, scavenging appears to be out of the question (kind of thought it might be, but, you never know)... And, the price of the lights provides a ballpark figure for how much a few Ci of T will cost. Presumably, one goes to a supplier of T (DOE, I imagine, here in the US, although with NAFTA, can you go to a Canadian supplier?) and gets a license for research purposes, then buys it in whatever form it is distributed in. Is this a "specialty gas" kind of item like D2, or is it more exotic.


Getting the license is the hassle! Impossible for you or me. Getting the gas is not. The gas is not all that expensive either based on a curie basis. Signage cost so much due to packaging, liability insurance, licensing and maintanence costs, etc., for the manufacturers and lots of profit.

The gas would have to be supplied by license arrangement with a firm and not picked up from a normal gas supplier like D2. None of the deuterium compounds or gas is under any form of control, and can be had for the asking and paying.

Tritium is beyond exotic, it is NRC regulated and every curie you get has to be accounted for and logged in and out of experiments with plenty of record keeping and inspections.

>It seems like for practicality, you might want to get it hydrided onto a substrate like they do for hydrogen/deuterium thyratrons. Then, you could put the hydride into the fusor and heat it to release the T when you need it. Saving yourself the hassle of plumbing, leak valves, leaks, etc. The hydride might also be more easily licensed, etc. (although I suspect that with NRC licensing, it is the first step that is the big one... once you've jumped through the hoops to get "anything" radioactive, differences in form result in small changes in hassle level.


Once you have the license you are in! How you use it is a matter of form and function. In your logging and record keeping they will see how you are using it and if it is being handled in a safe manner. The Farnsworth team just exhausted the stuff to water bath filter on the roof! The AEC was a bit more liberal in such matters, but it was "atoms for peace" time in America then. ( a real AEC program! There was even a special US stamp issued in its honor!) I once ordered for free, Iodine 131 and cobalt 60 directly from Oakridge in the early 60's fresh from the pile! The postman delivered it without fanfare into our home mailbox in small lead vessels packed within polyethylene mailing bottles with US stamps on the bottle label. I still have the old AEC bottle and containers.

This stuff was sent to any kid doing a nuclear science project with a note from his science teacher that the project was valid and in need of the isotopes.

Gone are the days...........We got some value out of our tax dollar and could be part of the "nuclear future". The mail was 3 cents for a letter and for that, the postman delivered twice daily to your door.........That's right young guys....once in the morning before 11AM and then he came again before 4PM. Now for 33 cents we are lucky to get a postman to agree to stop by once a day. All the government demanded in return was that you not be a "Dirty Red", and your folks wanted you to wash you hands before each meal and brush your teeth before bedtime.

Richard Hull