Fluoride Action Network

Evaluation of public dose from FHR tritium release with consideration of meteorological uncertainties.

Source: Science of The Total Environment 709:136085 | December 13th, 2019 | Authors: Wu X, Liu Y, Kearfott K, Sun X.
Industry type: Nuclear Industry


  • Chronic airborne tritium release modeling was performed for three locations of future FHR construction.
  • Carried out parametric study of critical meteorological and geometric parameters.
  • Dose prediction for the near future was conducted for three locations.
  • Dominance of meteorological parameters differs significantly for various geological locations.
  • The study confirms the necessity of tritium management in FHRs.


Tritium management is a potentially significant issue in fluoride-salt-cooled high-temperature reactors (FHRs), as these reactors can produce tritium at high rates. Potential impact of the tritium released into the environment needs to be investigated to help determine the maximum-allowable tritium-release rate from an FHR plant. In this study, a dose assessment on the public resulting from FHR tritium release was performed via computational modeling. Three potential locations for FHR construction, i.e., the Hanford site, Idaho Falls in Idaho, and Oak Ridge in Tennessee, were selected. Atmospheric tritium dispersion was modeled using computer code family GENII and a parametric study of key meteorological variables was carried out. An uncertainty analysis was performed to examine the reliability of the prediction of dose for the year 2020. It is discovered that conditions in favor of lower public dose level from FHR tritium release include low atmosphere temperature, high wind speed, high relative humidity, and high tritium release point. It is also discovered that for different geological locations, the dominance of meteorological parameters differs significantly. Among the three locations modeled, although the Hanford site might be the most suitable location for FHR construction in the past, in the near future, Oak Ridge would possess advantages in the dose assessment aspect over the other two. We assumed that the tritium release rate from an FHR plant is given at 18.5?TBq/day and compared the probability of the maximum individual dose exceeding the regulatory limit (0.4?mSv/y). According to the prediction of dose for the year 2020, this probability is extremely low. While for Idaho Falls, it is 91.62% and for the Hanford site, 44.27%. The results indicate that effective measures should be taken for tritium control in FHR.

*Original abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719360814