Heavy Water: A School of Romanian Scientific and Technological Research, a Paradigm in Kuhn's Sense

Bucharest, Romania: MultiMedia Publishing (2023)
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From the position of a simple employee of the Drobeta Turnu Severin Heavy Water Plant, as a quality assurance inspector, the head of the destructive and non-destructive control laboratories, and finally the head of the quality assurance service, I had the honor to participate, between 1983 and 1993, in the largest technical-scientific project in Romania at that time, which involved universities, countless research institutes, design institutes, factories and construction-assembly companies, which, forced to use exclusively Romanian materials and solutions, had to research, innovate and implement, on a daily basis, unique technologies for Romania, and specific solutions for their improvement. In this paper I highlight the close collaboration between all these entities, which allowed the development of an important component of the Romanian nuclear program, and laid the foundations of scientific and technological knowledge for the entire further evolution of activities in the nuclear field, and not only. Although there are many books and articles on the history of heavy water in Romania, in this paper I approach this subject from a new point of view, emphasizing the close collaboration between universities, scientific and technological research institutes, design institutes, production factories of machinery and equipment, construction-assembly enterprises, and heavy water plant specialists, thus creating an informal community, even a school within which an unprecedented scientific and technological discipline was developed, and a special emulation for research and innovation . For this purpose, I also analyzed documents that have not been used in such studies until now. And all these aspects are discussed through the lens of a direct and active participant in the construction, putting into operation, and operation of the heavy water plant. In the case of heavy water produced in Romania, I will demonstrate in this paper that it corresponds to a paradigm in the sense of Thomas Kuhn from The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, having the specific characteristics and passing through all the phases specified by him in the case of a paradigm. DOI: 10.58679/TW21689

Author's Profile

Nicolae Sfetcu
Romanian Academy


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