ICSI Rm. Valcea has developed an experimental pilot-scale installation for tritium and deuterium separation. The main objective of this pilot was to demonstrate the water detritiation technology and further to transfer this technology to CANDU nuclear power plant from CNE Cernavoda, in whose development program there is the achieving of a Tritium Removal Facility (since 2004).

The installation design was initiated in 1992, and in 1997 its construction was completed. Design and construction of this installation was performed similarly with chemical plants, specifically for hydrogen. Separation of isotopes was addressed in the first phase only regarding hydrogen and deuterium. In the next stage we started to transform it in a nuclear plant for processing tritium. Moving to tritium separation imposed the technological change of cryogenic distillation module aiming the tritium extraction at high concentrations.

Changes have been made with great efforts and consisted mainly of: redesign of the technological systems for nuclear material processing, applying specific codes and standards (ASME, Romanian nuclear specific pressure boundary prescriptions for code classification); design and implementation of new systems, classified as safety systems; redesign and implementation of command and control systems, complying with the requirements of reliability and maintenance required for the project promoted; revaluation of auxiliary systems (utilities, power supply, including UPS); introducing radiation protection systems, including secondary barriers; implementing and maintaining environment operational program specific to the new nuclear plant; developing and conducting safety analyzes; development of specific documentation to obtain the necessary permits for construction, commissioning and operation of the plant.

This paper presents the implications of moving from a chemical plant towards a nuclear installation applying codes and standards specifically to nuclear field. It is a lesson for those who approaches their research in this regard.