tritium

noun

tri·​ti·​um ˈtri-tē-əm How to pronounce tritium (audio)
ˈtri-shē-
: a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that has one proton and two neutrons in its nucleus and that has three times the mass of ordinary hydrogen
symbol T

Examples of tritium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web People are exposed to tritium in small amounts in tap water and in rain. Amudalat Ajasa, Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2023 The grim reality of fusion is that the world’s largest project, the ITER, will not be tested with deuterium and tritium fuel until 2035, and couldn’t produce any useful power for quite a few years after that. IEEE Spectrum, 31 Dec. 2023 Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Associated Press last week that a significant health risk only would occur if people consumed fairly high amounts of tritium. Fox News, 24 Mar. 2023 Or the water could be used to make concrete, from which tritium’s beta particles are unable to escape. Bydennis Normile, science.org, 24 Jan. 2023 According to the power company’s website, just 30 percent of the approximately 1.3 million tons of water in holding tanks at the site has been fully treated to the point that only tritium — an isotope of hydrogen that experts say poses a low risk to human health — remains. John Liu, New York Times, 31 Aug. 2023 According to a study by the Japanese government, China’s own Fuqing nuclear power plant discharged 52 trillion becquerels of tritium in 2020. Kathleen Magramo, CNN, 27 Aug. 2023 Japanese authorities say the concentration of tritium will drop to background ocean levels after the dilution. Amudalat Ajasa, Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2023 Some of that water contains tritium, which occurs naturally in the environment and is a common byproduct of nuclear plant operations. Michael Hill The Associated Press, Arkansas Online, 19 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tritium.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

New Latin, from Greek tritos third — more at third entry 1

First Known Use

1933, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tritium was in 1933

Dictionary Entries Near tritium

Cite this Entry

“Tritium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tritium. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

tritium

noun
tri·​ti·​um ˈtrit-ē-əm How to pronounce tritium (audio) ˈtrish-ē- How to pronounce tritium (audio)
: a rare radioactive form of hydrogen having atoms with three times the mass of ordinary light hydrogen atoms

Medical Definition

tritium

noun
tri·​ti·​um ˈtrit-ē-əm How to pronounce tritium (audio) ˈtrish-ē- How to pronounce tritium (audio)
: a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that has three times the mass of ordinary hydrogen
symbol T

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