P.O. Box 34042 • Houston, Texas 77234 • Phone (713) 641-0391
Mixed Waste: kpage@nssihouston.com
Chemical Waste: ivanmateo@nssihouston.com
RSO/Sealed Sources: crincon@nssihouston.com
President: jcruz@nssihouston.com

NSSI/Recovery Services Inc. is now providing Tritium recovery services as an alternative to the land disposal of high Tritium content materials. The system and facility are currently in operation at NSSI's hazardous, mixed and radioactive waste processing center.

View: Tritium Recovery Process Flash Video

Tritium is a major problem from a land disposal standpoint as Tritium exchanges readily with ground water and tends to move easily through geologic structures. Significant subsurface Tritium has been identified at Federal nuclear facilities and at all of the existing commercial land disposal facilities. Land disposal sites limit the Tritium activity of incoming wastes to 1 micro Curie per cubic centimeter unless expensive over pack containers are utilized. Tritium generators are searching for alternatives to land disposal in order to protect the environment, limit operational expenses, and avoid future liabilities associated with the remediation of sites which have Tritium mobility problems.

NSSI offers recycle services that can recover in excess of 99% of the contained Tritium for reuse and resale.

Services available Include:

The TDS is used for the recovery of Tritium from metal, foils, and devices. The system operates by thermally desorbing the Tritium and transfer to a Uranium bed storage vessel. The mixed Tritium gas stream is later purified by cryogenic distillation and the Tritium repackaged for resale and reuse.

Waste streams treatable by the Thermal Desorption System include targets from neutron generator devices, foils from electron capture detectors, static eliminators, static measurement devices, ion getter pumps, and metal components of Tritium handling systems and Tritium gas storage devices.

NSSI is currently accepting electron capture detectors, static devices, sealed neutron generator tubes and target assemblies with activities ranging from milliCuries to MultiCuries.

NSSI provides oxidation services for high Tritium content organics. A 2nd generation 3" oxidizer is in operation at NSSI's Houston facility.

The technology for the oxidation of high Tritium organics was developed by various governmental laboratories and pharmaceutical research facilities to convert the residues from multiCurie Tritium labeling activities to water and carbon dioxide. The process involves pumping the organic to be oxidized into a heated column which contains an oxygen rich zone and a catalyst zone. The organic is injected into the oxygen rich oxidation zone at a controlled rate. Primary oxidation occurs within the oxygen rich zone and the catalyst zone functions to complete the oxidation of any difficult compounds. The effluent is cooled as it exits the column in a refrigerated condenser and collected. Multiple scrubbers neutralize any acid gases and capture carbon dioxide.

The existing system is capable of oxidizing 40 liters per day for most organics.  The unit is capable of unattended operation.

The oxidizer currently in operation has demonstrated oxidation of alcohols containing halogens with a conversion efficiency of 99.99% and quantitative recovery of the Tritium content. The system is useable for all types of pumpable organics including halogenated organics. Water with trace organics can be processed if mixed with other organics to support the oxidation.

The technology is limited by economic concerns as the oxidation process yields a volume of tritiated water equivalent to the volume of the oxidized organic. At this time, NSSI is restricting use of the system to organic waste streams containing greater than 1 Curie per liter.

Tritium disposal is a major problem for high activity Tritium users as Tritium exchanges readily with ground water and moves easily through geologic structures. Tritium releases from incinerators, fuel blenders and other thermal treatment facilities add to this ground water contamination as the Tritium exchanges with environmental moisture and returns to the earth as precipitation.

Subsurface Tritium has received significant news media attention in recent years and has sensitized governmental and commercial Tritium users to disposal methods which result in releases to the environment. NSSI's TOX oxidation process provides an alternative to environmental releases by recovering the Tritium content of waste streams for reuse, or for storage for decay.