The Measurement of Tritium in Water Samples with Electrolytic Enrichment Using Liquid Scintillation Counter
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Tritium (H-3) present in the environment decreased in the last decades and nowadays it has low activity concentrations. Measurement of low-level tritium activities in natural waters, e.g. in precipitation, groundwater, and river water requires special techniques for water pretreatment and detection of low-level radioactivity. In order to increase the tritium concentration to an easily measurable level, electrolytic enrichment must be applied. This paper presents the enrichment method performed by electrolysis in a battery of 18 cells, giving an enrichment factor of 5.84 (calculated from 59 electrolyses). The calculated mean values of the separation factor and enrichment parameter were 4.10 and 0.84, respectively. Results for tritium activity in precipitation and surface water collected in Belgrade during 2008 and 2009 are presented. The Radiation and Environmental Protection Department of the Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences, participated in the IAEA TRIC2008 international intercomp...arison exercise. The participation in the intercomparisons for any laboratory doing low-level H-3 measurements in the waters is very important and useful. It is considered the best way to check the entire procedure and methods of the measurements and the reliability of the standard used. The analysis of the reported H-3 activity results showed that all results for five intercomparison samples, for which electrolytic enrichment were applied prior to the H-3 measurement, are acceptable.