Tritium water dating

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The low energy of tritium's radiation makes it difficult to detect tritium-labeled compounds except by using liquid scintillation counting.Tritium is produced in nuclear reactors by neutron activation of lithium-6.Beta particles from tritium can penetrate only about 6.0 mm of air, and they are incapable of passing through the dead outermost layer of human skin.The unusually low energy released in the tritium beta decay makes the decay (along with that of rhenium-187) appropriate for absolute neutrino mass measurements in the laboratory (the most recent experiment being KATRIN).

Naturally occurring tritium is extremely rare on Earth.

This is due to a fixed production rate and losses proportional to the inventory.

According to a 1996 report from Institute for Energy and Environmental Research on the US Department of Energy, only 225 kg (496 lb) of tritium had been produced in the United States from 1955 to 1996.

This is possible with neutrons of any energy, and is an exothermic reaction yielding 4.8 Me V.

In comparison, the fusion of deuterium with tritium releases about 17.6 Me V of energy.

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