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Experiences in the construction and operation of a nuclear desalination demonstration plant: Part II

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A hybrid desalination plant consisting of 1800 m³/day Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) and 4500 m³/day Multi-stage Flash (MSF) distillation units, is being set up at Kalpakkam, near the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS). The construction of both these units has resulted in many challenges, imposing severe constraints as they are being retrofitted to the existing power plant. The steam supply system and seawater intake system required unique approaches, both in erection and commissioning. The MSF evaporator modules require the precise fabrication and assembly of thousands of tonnes of carbon steel, stainless steel and cupronickel. This being the first desalination plant of its kind in the country, we had to overcome numerous obstacles and face surprises and peculiar problems. In spite of this, the SWRO unit has been in operation since October 2002 and, for the MSF unit, the brine heater, brine circulation pumps, holdup tank, and isolation heat exchangers have been completed and construction of the evaporator module is in full swing and is likely to go on stream in near future. This paper attempts to describe the problems encountered during the erection, commissioning and operation of the Nuclear Desalination Demonstration Plant (NDDP) at Kalpakkam.

Keywords: multi-stage flash distillation, MSF, seawater reverse osmosis, SWRO, India, desalination demonstration plant, nuclear desalination

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