HT-HTO-OBT Conversions in Rhubarb Plants and Soil

Tritium, the only radioactive isotope of hydrogen, is routinely released to the air by nuclear industry. It can later be deposited in soils or taken up by plants, usually in the form of water. Though current levels are not inherently dangerous to humans, understanding how tritium evolves once emitted is critical to generating effective regulatory policies that ensure public safety and support industry. This project, in partnership with SRB Technologies in Pembroke, Ontario, will examine how quickly tritium gas (HT) is converted to tritium in water (HTO) in soils, as well as how it is incorporated into plant material (organically bound tritium) during photosynthesis. This will help advance current models of tritium movement in the environment. The results of this investigation will also assist SRBT in making informed decisions regarding the day-to-day operations of their facility, as well as ensure the continued transparency and accountability that is a hallmark of the Canadian nuclear industry.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Ian Clark


Brett DeHay-Turner


SRB Technologies


Environmental sciences




University of Ottawa



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