Theweekendleader

Work on water solvent extraction unit to start soon

Chennai

23-March-2019

Construction of the Rs 150 crore solvent extraction plant of the Heavy Water Board's (HWB) in Thoothukudi will begin soon after regulatory approvals, said a top official.

"The environmental clearance for the project was obtained form the Environmental Impact Assessment Authority, Tamil Nadu, on December 31, 2018," U. Kamachi Mudali, Chairman and Chief Executive, HWB, told IANS on Saturday.

"The engineering part of the project has begun. Site construction work will start shortly after obtaining approval from regulatory authorities," Mudali said.

The plant, likely to be commissioned in 2021, will have 25 ton rare material annual production capacity.

"The plant will extract rare materials, like yttrium, yetterbium and erbium, from phosphoric acid, which will be used for captive consumption of Department of Atomic Energy," Mudali said.

The proposal to set up rare material recovery plants at Haldia and Paradeep has been put on hold, he said.

On heavy water production, Mudali said the current production capacity is 423 ton per annum (tpa). The process is on to restart 40 tpa heavy water plant in Thoothukudi by December.

The heavy water is used as coolant or moderator in pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR).

"Once the Thoothukudi heavy water plant starts operating, total production will go up to 463 tpa," Mudali said.

The Thoothukudi plant was shut for lack of feed material supplies after fertiliser company SPIC Ltd closed its plant in the district.

The HWB heavy water plants in Kota, Manuguru, Thal and Hazira operated with more than the full capacity utilisation in 2017-18, Mudali said. - IANS