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.
, also known as hydrogen-3) is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.
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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).
Radioluminescent 1.8 curies (67 GBq) 6 by 0.2 inches (152.4 mm × 5.1 mm) tritium vials are thin, tritium-gas-filled glass vials whose inner surfaces are coated with a phosphor. Like the other isotopes of hydrogen, tritium is difficult to confine.
Rubber, plastic, and some kinds of steel are all somewhat permeable.
Worldwide, the production of tritium from natural sources is 148,000 terabecquerels per year.