Baroda Heavy Water Plant

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Last Updated: September 1, 2003
Other Name: BHWP
Location: Mumbai, Anushakti Nagar, India
Subordinate To: Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Operational

Operated by the Department of Atomic Energy's (DAE) Heavy Water Board, the Baroda Heavy Water Plant in the state of Gujarat was India's second heavy water production facility. It was originally supplied as a turnkey project by the French-Swiss consortium M-S Gelpra. Construction began in 1970, and the Plant began producing heavy water in July 1977. This production was short lived, however, as an accident caused by the failure of an ammonia quench assembly spool piece forced the facility to be closed five months later. Repairing the facility took nearly three years, and the plant resumed commercial operations in 1980. The plant uses the mono-thermal ammonia-hydrogen exchange process to produce up to 67.2Mt of heavy water per year. The Gujarat Fertilizer's Baroda Ammonia Plant, located adjacent to the heavy water plant, produces the required ammonia inputs.

Problems at the Baroda Plant started during construction with huge cost overruns, production cost increases, and a delay in commissioning that lasted 53 months. Since commissioning, the plant has rarely run at more than 30 percent capacity. In May 1982, for example, the plant was shut down due to a labor dispute and was again closed in the spring of 1988 because of an explosion and fire. In 1996-1997, the facility was shut down several times for maintenance or machinery failure. Despite its poor operating performance, the plant did contribute at least some of the 100Mt of heavy water used to start up the Dhruva Research Reactor. Operations at the Heavy Water Plant have been suspended since December 1998 due to the closure of the ammonia plants of the Gujarat State Fertilizer Corporation, which effectively cut off the supply of ammonia inputs. Modifications to the plant have been initiated in order to resume and sustain heavy water production. According to the DAE's Annual Report 2000-2001, the modification project should have been completed by mid-2002.

Sources:
[1] Andrew Koch, "Selected Indian Nuclear Facilities," Center for Nonproliferation Studies, 1999, http://cns.miis.edu.
[2] DAE (Government of India), "Annual Report 1977-1978," p. 100.
[3] DAE (Government of India), "Annual Report 1979-1980," p. 9.
[4] DAE (Government of India), "Annual Report 2000-2001," Executive Summary available at www.dae.gov.in.
[5] "Heavy Water Plant, Baroda," Heavy Water Board (DAE Government of India), www.heavywaterboard.org.

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