The research in Heavy Water production was initiated
by the Chemical Engineering division of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in the 60s
and was continued by the Heavy Water Division of the Centre where a Pilot Plant was
operated for studying the H2S-H20 exchange process. While these
studies were in progress, a Heavy Water Plant at Nangal in Punjab was set up and
commissioned in August, 1962.
To have a share of at least 10% of the national power demand by 2000 A.D.,
Department of Atomic Energy embarked on an ambitious programme of producing nuclear power
of 10,000 MWe which required setting up a number of heavy water plants. This was also the
time when the need for a separate organisation to oversee the planning and setting up of
Heavy Water Plants was strongly felt. Accordingly an organisation known as the Heavy Water
Projects was set up on May 1, 1969. The unit was headed by Shri S. Fareeduddin, eminent chemical engineer and
Padmashree of 1967 for his outstanding contribution in the front end of nuclear fuel
cycle. This was later renamed as Heavy Water Board with effect from February 17, 1989.
Almost the entire group headed by Shri P.G. Deshpande
of Heavy Water section BARC and Shri K.S. Bimbhat of
HWB Nangal was transferred to Heavy Water Project in early 1969 where formed the core
groups for H2S-H2O and NH3-H2 process
Heavy Water Plants based on Ammonia-Hydrogen exchange process were set up at Baroda and
First plant based on Hydrogen Sulphide-water exchange process developed indigenously was
set up at Rawatbhata near Kota, Rajasthan.
At present there are seven heavy water plants in India.