Tritium Removal

Breakthrough Economics Innovation Becomes “Implementation” Only When It Is Cost-Effective To Do So. The Key Behind Kurion’s Modular Detritiation System, And Why Tritium Removal Is Finally A Realistic Option, Is The Company’s Unique Column.

Scaling to Meet an Urgent Need NSSI facility in Houston, Texas, used by Kurion as one of the sites of a One Billion Yen demonstration project for the Japanese government.

Epic Environmental Challenge Tritium is a special form of hydrogen that becomes part of the water molecule itself. The economical removal of tritium from light water was deemed impossible until Kurion changed the paradigm.

Tritium – a radioactive form of hydrogen – is routinely released into the environment by commercial nuclear power plants. Until now, no technology existed to remove low levels of tritium contamination economically. Kurion is changing the paradigm by blending complex innovation and simple economics.

Kurion’s Modular Detritiation System builds on more than three decades of ingenuity, providing nuclear operators an economical path to strengthen public trust and improve energy production with a new – and proven way – to remove tritium.

Today Kurion is completing a demonstration project for the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to show this tritium-removal technology is an effective and scalable solution. Kurion was selected from 182 submissions from around the world for this high-profile, 1 Billion yen project.

BloombergU.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says Kurion “possesses technology for removing the radioactive isotope tritium from contaminated water” and “could deploy its technology at the Fukushima plant.”

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Decades-old problem calls for a clean alternative

Tritium Tribulations

Tritium presents a unique cleanup challenge: It is a special form of hydrogen that becomes part of the water molecule itself, creating radioactive water.

Kurion uses innovative technology to separate the isotope of hydrogen from water

Kurion uses innovative technology to separate the isotope of hydrogen from water

Traditional methods of tritium removal focused on cleaning “heavy water,” where tritium is found in larger quantities, for the purpose of recycling the water back into nuclear reactors. However, when tritium is present in smaller concentrations, this technology is prohibitively expensive.

Through Kurion’s new tritium-removal technology, we offer another way that utilities can strengthen trust with surrounding communities and to fulfill nuclear power’s clean energy promise.

Kurion’s Modular Detritiation System (MDS™)

Kurion has developed an economical solution that – for the first time – can remove low levels of tritium contamination. We refocus proven technologies to process large volumes of water with moderate tritium concentrations, while existing technologies are designed to treat small volumes of water at high concentrations.

Working with leading global and academic experts in tritium, Kurion makes advances in throughput and efficiency where the tritium removal occurs.


Economical & scalable design
Reduces volume of water by 100,000 times
All tritium to be captured in metal hydride at molecular level and stable up to 600° C
No water remains after treatment is complete


How it Works

 Affordable Effectiveness

The Kurion Modular Detritiation System is based on proven technology that has been used commercially for over 30 years.

tritium removal 1

Electrolyzer used in Kurion’s Modular Detritiation System (courtesy of Hydrogenics)

Within the system, an electrolyzer splits the tritiated water into hydrogen and oxygen, capturing the tritium within the hydrogen stream.

tritium removal 2

Kurion’s innovative column design

How does the Kurion column remove tritium in the hydrogen stream? The hydrogen stream enters the bottom of a catalytic exchange column while a small amount of water enters from above. When a large quantity of tritiated hydrogen molecules meets the much smaller number of water molecules inside the column, the tritium is drawn to the water and attaches to the water molecules.

The exchange column in Kurion’s Modular Detritiation System leverages cutting-edge design and a special catalyst to accelerate the transfer of tritium from hydrogen to water. This process significantly reduces the volume of water.

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Proven getter bed technology used to store tritium

Once the tritium is concentrated through this process and the volume is reduced, Kurion captures the tritium inside a conventional technology called a “getter bed,” a type of dry metal hydrate.

Because tritium is a type of hydrogen, the hydrogen inside the metal hydrate is replaced by the tritium. The tritium remains stable in the getter bed up to a temperature of 600°C.

More Information

Modular Detritiation System