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Is tritium radioactive?

Tritium is a very low energy beta emitter and even large amounts of this isotope pose no external dose hazard to persons exposed. The beta radiation cannot penetrate the outer protective dead layer of the skin of the body. The major concern for individuals working with this isotope is the possibility of an internal exposure. Such an exposure may occur if an individual contaminates bare skin, accidentally ingests the material, or breathes it in the form of a gas or vapor. The critical organ for a tritium uptake is the water of the whole body.

Is Tritium radioactive?
The answer is Yes! Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen that occurs both naturally, due to cosmic rays interacting with atmospheric gases, and as a by-product of the operation of nuclear reactors.

Uses of Tritium

Self-powered lighting

The beta particles emitted by the radioactive decay of small amounts of tritium cause chemicals called phosphors to glow. This radioluminescence is used in self-powered lighting devices called betalights, which are used for night illumination of firearm sights, watches, exit signs, map lights, navigational compasses, knives and a variety of other devices.

Electrical power source
Tritium can be used in a betavoltaic device to create an atomic battery to generate electricity.

External exposure to tritium gas or tritiated water is not very dangerous because tritium emits such a low energy beta particle that the radiation cannot penetrate the skin. You can also purchase Tritium wristwatches and vials at

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