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Barge cranes arrive for Hinkley Point C works

11 Apr 23 Two heavylift jack-up vessels have arrived off the coast of Somerset as offshore work for Hinkley Point C moves into its final stages.

Sea Challenger and Neptune have arrived off the coast of Somerset
Sea Challenger and Neptune have arrived off the coast of Somerset

 The lifting vessels, named Neptune and Sea Challenger, will be used to install vital components for the nuclear power station’s cooling water system.

The barge cranes are owned by Belgian maritime engineering contractor Deme.

They will be used to install six vertical shafts at a depth of more than 20 metres, marking the next stage in connecting six miles of tunnels with the seabed.

Once installed, miners will dig a horizontal connection between the bottom of the shaft and the tunnel. This is the first part of linking the intake and outfall heads with the tunnels. These 5,000-tonne structures were lowered onto the seabed last summer [see previous report here] and will circulate water to the two nuclear reactors.

Sea Challenger is 132 metres long and its crane is rated at 1,600 tonnes capacity, able to lift 700 tonnes at 28-metre radius. Neptune is smaller, at 132 metres long and with a 600-tonne cranes.

EDF area delivery director Jonathan Smith said: “This is one of the final stages of our offshore operations, which will see teams from EDF, Balfour Beatty and New Wave Solutions working together to deliver yet another incredible feat of engineering.”

Balfour Beatty project director Roger Frost said: “The arrival of Neptune and Sea Challenger marks another significant step forward in the successful delivery of the first new nuclear power station in the UK for over 20 years.”

Work to install the shafts will continue into the autumn.

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