Talcher / Thalcher
20° 57' N 85° 13' E
Indian heavy-water production supports domestic natural uranium [versus enriched uranium] nuclear power plants. Difficulties in supplying reactor inventories have been mitigated by nuclear power plant construction delays. A total of eight operating heavy-water plants have a total production capacity of more than 650 te/yr, adequate both to support current domestic requirements and export sales [including 100 te to South Korea and 350 te to Romania]. Six of the plants use ammonia exchange processes and are associated with fertilizer production plants, and the other two use the hydrogen sulfide process.
Operation of the Heavy Water Plant (Talcher)-Orissa was suspended in August 1994 due to unsatisfactory operation of the fertilizer plant of the Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd., Talcher. Heavy Water Plant at Talcher employed the ammonia-hydrogen exchange process (Bithermal). The plant is located at a distance of 150 Kms. from Bhubaneshwar. The work on this plant in October 1972 and it was commissioned in March 1985. Operation of the Plant at Talcher had to be suspended with effect from 29 April 1994 due to the non-availability of feed synthesis gas on a sustained basis. The infrastructure facility at Talcher is being utilised to diversify the activities for the Board in producing High purity solvents, such as D2EHPA, TBP,etc.
Synthesis gas (a mixture of one part of nitrogen and three parts of hydrogen) containing 140 ppm (0.014%) of deuterium, produced in one of the adjacent ammonia plant for their captive use, is routed through the plant at a rate of 99,600 Nm3/hr. The pressure of the synthesis gas is first raised by 10-15 Kg/cm2. to take care of pressure drop in the transfer section. The gas is passed through a purification unit to remove impurities like O2, CO, CO2, Oil and water vapour, and to saturate it with ammonia by washing with liquid ammonia and ammonical solution of potassium amide. The purified saturated gas is then passed through the transfer column operating at -30 deg. C., where deuterium in the gas is transferred to a counter current streams of liquid ammonia obtained from the enrichment section and containing potassium amide catalyst. The depleted synthesis gas from the transfer column is sent back to the fertilizer plant while enriched liquid ammonia is fed to the enrichment section for further enrichment.
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