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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Thal / Tai Vaishet

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.

Heavy Water Plant Thal is the first of second generation plants in India and is made completely with indigenous efforts. The vast technical resources those were available with Heavy Water Board with the experience gained by commissioning and sustained operation of the earlier plants were utilised for setting of the plant. It is located at Thal-Vaishet village in Raigad district of Maharashtra and is about 100 kms south of Mumbai on National Highway No.17. It is about 20 kms away from Pen railway station of Panvel - Roha section. The site is also accessible from Gateway of India, Mumbai by speedboats and Catamaran services.

Work on HWP Thal was started in February 1982 and plant was commissioned in 1985. Setting up of the plant was a major task as a number of componenets were to be developed for the first time indigenously. Some of them were special tower internals, canned motor pumps, glass seals, mass spectrometers, multilayer vessels etc. and this involved considerable pre-project effort by Heavy Water Board.

The plant comprises of two streams consisting of two separate isotopic exchange units, final enrichment units, final production units & cracker units, but a common ammonia synthesis unit. Feed synthesis gas (a mixture of one part of nitrogen and three parts of hydrogen containing deuterium from the Ammonia plant is routed through the plant at a flow rate of about 96 T/hr. at a pressure of about 100 kgs./

Photographic Evaluation Report

High resolution imagery is only available from declassified CORONA imagery. As of 28 April 2000 Russian 2-meter resolution KVR-1000 imagery coverage was not available via the SPIN-2 service on TerraServer, nor was archival Space Imaging IKONOS 1-meter imagery available on the CARTERRAT Archive.

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