Nangal Heavy Water Plant

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Last Updated: September 1, 2003
Other Name: N/A
Location: Nangal
Subordinate To: Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
Size: 7Mt per year
Facility Status: Operational

Operated by the DAE's Heavy Water Board (HWB), the Nangal Heavy Water Plant in Punjab is the oldest heavy water plant in India. It was supplied by the West German firm Linde in 1962. The plant uses the electrolysis of water and low-temperature distillation process. The original design capacity was 14.11Mt of heavy water per year. The facility was designed using antiquated 1940s-era technology that was power intensive and expensive. In 1990, modifications were made to the plant to decrease costs that resulted in the cutting of its maximum output to 7Mt per year. In spite of the antiquated technology, the facility was able to maintain a high level of output efficiency throughout the 1980s. During this period, the Nangal Plant supplied approximately half of its output to maintain India's Cirus Research Reactor and provided the Dhruva Reactor with additional heavy water. Nangal provided heavy water, unsafeguared by IAEA, to India's primary plutonium production reactors when the country's other heavy water plants were undergoing serious difficulties. In 1978, the plant was brought under the authority of the National Fertilizers Limited (NFL).

Source: Andrew Koch, "Selected Indian Nuclear Facilities," Center for Nonproliferation Studies, 1999, www.nonproliferation.org.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.