National Research And Development Institute For Cryogenic And Isotopic Technologies


Through the research carried out, ICSI Rm. Valcea is a pioneer in the field of separation technology of deuterium and tritium from deuterium and tritiated waters, through a combined method: catalytic isotope exchange and cryogenic distillation.

The purpose of this research is to confirm the technological data and the functional characteristics of the specific equipment in order to design a heavy water detritiation plant used in CANDU reactors, with direct application to units 1 and 2 of Cernavoda NPP.

Based on the results obtained, the “Pilot Plant for Tritium and Deuterium Separation” was implemented, with the transposition of the laboratory technology into a semi-industrial plant, equivalent to a detritiation unit coupled to the D2O systems in a CANDU reactor.

The technology for heavy water detritiation was approached in two stages:

  • creating and developing the pilot plant as a standard plant;
  • testing and enhancing the pilot plant for certification as nuclear facility.

The latest development of the Cernavoda NPP detritiation plant project required redesigning and modifying important systems or components for increasing industrial and nuclear security.

The results obtained

Experiments have revealed the capability of designing, implementing process equipment and maintaining a tritium processing plant for a long time.

The knowledge obtained can be used to enhance technological processes for tritium processing plants either as a heavy water detritiation facility on a CANDU reactor, or as detritiation system for ITER fusion reactor.

Result Applicability Observations
Completion of deuterium and tritium separation technology Cernavoda NPP, ITER The concept design of Cernavoda NPP (CTRF) installation has been completed and the detailed design and construction phase can begin



Operating data for catalytic isotopic exchange

and cryogenic distillation processes

Cernavoda NPP Possibility to produce CTRF operation manuals
Base materials for catalysed isotopic exchange and cryogenic distillation processes: hydrophobic catalysts, stainless steel packing (ICSI patent), mix packing. Cernavoda NPP, ITER The ICSI catalyst is used as design basis for CTRF and at the same time as potential material for use in the ITER detritiation system (fusion)
Tritium analysis systems in liquid phase and comparison of the method with laboratories from Europe and the world; Cernavoda NPP, ITER The plant owns one of the best laboratories in Europe
Highly qualified staff Cernavoda NPP, ITER The staff of the plant contributes to the realization, commissioning and operation of the detritiation unit at Cernavoda NPP.

Involvement in research related to separation processes used in ITER

Development and support training for specific


SCN, IFIN HH, KIT, ENEA, UKAEA, CEA Support for specific activities, including developments for ITER

Technological transfer

Starting from the end of 2007, ICSI Rm. Valcea started to develop the detritiation plant project at Cernavoda NPP and its authorisation program. This project is based on the experience developed within Rm. Valcea national facility and will cover the production units 1 and 2 from Cernavoda NPP.

The technical project and procurement specifications for long-term delivery equipment using the PESTD pilot plant together with the nuclear safety documentation were completed in 2015, obtaining the confirmation that the project was feasible and eligible for authorization in the form of a comfort letter by CNCAN.

Staff Representatives:

Dr. Liviu Stefan
Dr. Eng. Anisia Bornea
Eng. Marius Zamfirache
Dr. Phys. Carmen Varlam
Dr. Phys. Nicolae Bidica
Dr. Chem. Gheorghe Ionita
Dr. Eng. Sebastian Brad
Dr. Eng. George Ana

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