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Biofouling. 2009 Oct;25(7):581-91. doi: 10.1080/08927010903016543.

Biofouling and microbial corrosion problem in the thermo-fluid heat exchanger and cooling water system of a nuclear test reactor.

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Water and Steam Chemistry Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Facilities, Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, India.


This article discusses aspects of biofouling and corrosion in the thermo-fluid heat exchanger (TFHX) and in the cooling water system of a nuclear test reactor. During inspection, it was observed that >90% of the TFHX tube bundle was clogged with thick fouling deposits. Both X-ray diffraction and Mossbauer analyses of the fouling deposit demonstrated iron corrosion products. The exterior of the tubercle showed the presence of a calcium and magnesium carbonate mixture along with iron oxides. Raman spectroscopy analysis confirmed the presence of calcium carbonate scale in the calcite phase. The interior of the tubercle contained significant iron sulphide, magnetite and iron-oxy-hydroxide. A microbiological assay showed a considerable population of iron oxidizing bacteria and sulphate reducing bacteria (10(5) to 10(6) cfu g(-1) of deposit). As the temperature of the TFHX is in the range of 45-50 degrees C, the microbiota isolated/assayed from the fouling deposit are designated as thermo-tolerant bacteria. The mean corrosion rate of the CS coupons exposed online was approximately 2.0 mpy and the microbial counts of various corrosion causing bacteria were in the range 10(3) to 10(5) cfu ml(-1) in the cooling water and 10(6) to 10(8) cfu ml(-1) in the biofilm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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