Chief Executive's Message

Dear colleagues and associates,

I am profoundly delighted to take over the reins of this esteemed organization, Heavy Water Board (HWB). I have a deep sense of gratitude to the pioneers and founders of this organization, who have strived very hard over the last five decades to build this great establishment. I am incredibly indebted to the Department of Atomic Energy for giving me this excellent opportunity to carry over the legacy of my predecessors.

I was associated with different facets of the technologies used for the production of Heavy Water since the early eighties. I have been part of various phases of this epic journey of 50+ years. The journey included setting up of Heavy Water Plants & facilities, challenges faced in commissioning, operation & stabilizing the production capacities, operational excellence with highest safety standards, energy conservation, exports, global recognition, fulfilling the mandate of heavy water production and then enlarging the mandate to include the production of Specialty Materials.

HWB is discharging its core mandate of production of nuclear grade and special grade Heavy Water required for the Indian Nuclear Power Programme while achieving many landmarks. HWB has transformed not only in range, scale and scope of its activities but also in its mandate to make its presence in all the three stages of Indian Nuclear Power Programme (INPP) as well as in frontier areas of relevance to DAE's programme.

HWB is having a strong presence in Nuclear Fuel Cycle, both in front and back-end and is now gearing up to support the tail-end. Utilizing in-house Solvents, the Board has established technology of rare material recovery from phosphoric acid for enhancing the supply of fuel and rare earths. We are now pursuing rare material recovery from Indian rock phosphate to explore indigenous resources. Production of Boron-10 enriched compounds and nuclear grade Sodium enabled HWB to make a meaningful contribution to the second stage of INPP viz. Fast Breeder Reactors. Production of Oxygen-18 enriched water and harnessing beneficial effects of Deuterium Depleted Water (DDW) is the reflection of HWB's societal commitment. While pursuing the non-nuclear applications of Deuterium, the programme got further extended to the production of Deuterium Gas; Deuterium labelled compounds and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients.

The safety statistics of Heavy Water Plants indicate an excellent performance as compared to other similar size hazardous chemical industries. However, operation of these three to four decades old ageing plants, with hundreds of tonnes of hazardous fluid inventory, in a safe and efficient manner is indeed challenging. Our operation teams are putting their best effort to operate & maintain these plants safely and to the satisfaction of regulatory authorities. However, residual life assessment and ageing management are one of the major thrust areas in the near future. In addition to ageing plants, we are also facing a significant challenge on human resources, especially for the operation of plants. Owing to bulk superannuation in current and coming years, the induction of fresh workforce and training is indeed a top priority for HWB to compensate for the loss of skilled resources.      

One of the most potent ways HWB has demonstrated its distinctive character is by fulfilling the mandate assigned by the department. Over the years, we have fulfilled our mandate not only in the production of Heavy Water but also Specialty Materials. The product basket of Specialty Materials is growing prominent, and we are looking forward to more and more. This attribute has percolated deep and has almost become our organizational identity. HWB is a rare blend of technology development and industrial-scale production, and the success it has achieved is mainly due to technology leverage, dedication, commitment, adaptability and team spirit.

I am sure Team Heavy Water will continue to demonstrate its character enabling it to scale greater heights. 


S.K. Nayak

Chief Executive, HWB






Last updated on: 05-Oct-2020