A New Approach to Heavy Water Upgrading Technology
International Conference on the Future of Heavy Water Reactors - 2011 October 02-05

Presented at:
International Conference on the Future of Heavy Water Reactors
2011 October 02-05
Ottawa, Canada
Session Title:
Heavy Water Technology

Peter Ozemoyah (Tyne Engineering Inc)
J. Robinson (Tyne Engineering Inc)
T. Manifar (Tyne Engineering Inc)
V. Robinson (Tyne Engineering Inc)
Sam Suppiah (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited)
Hugh Boniface (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited)


Heavy water is an integral part of the Heavy Water Reactors (HWRs) and in particular, the CANDU family of reactors. Due to the high cost of heavy water and the radiological effect associated with tritium-contaminated heavy water, efforts are made to minimize the loss of heavy water by collecting any water from liquid leakages, spills, and vapour recovery. High isotopic purity is important in the efficient operation of HWRs, hence the need to continuously cleanup and periodically upgrade the collected heavy water.

This paper explains Tyne Engineering’s embracing of the modularized and more economical Combined Electrolysis and Catalytic Exchange (CECE) process as an alternative to the larger distillation methods of heavy water upgrading. The salient advantages and disadvantages of the CECE process for heavy water upgrading are discussed.

With the costing and modular construction/installation experience of Tyne Engineering, the CECE upgrading process has become less expensive and more attractive. The improved AECL proprietary catalysts, the availability of tritium compatible electrolyzer, the reduction in cost, and the simplicity of the process will certainly add value to the HWRs’ attractiveness, and hence determine the process of heavy water upgrading for the present and the future.

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