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Sun November 28 2021

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Second reactor building takes shape at Hinkley Point

17 Nov Big Carl, the huge Belgian crane, has been in action again at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station construction site.

Big Carl lowers the 47-metre diameter steel ring onto the Unit 2 reactor
Big Carl lowers the 47-metre diameter steel ring onto the Unit 2 reactor

The lattice boom Sarens SGC-250 crane, known as Big Carl and able to 5,000 tonnes at a radius of 50 metres , has placed the first huge steel ring section onto the second reactor building.

This major lift on Unit 2 comes just 11 months after the exact same operation on the first reactor.

The prefabricated ring, which is 47 metres in diameter and 17 metres high, forms a reinforced cylinder around the nuclear reactor.

EDF Energy, French state company behind the project, says that the latest installation shows how building an identical copy of the first reactor generates efficiency and saves time. The ring was built 25% more quickly than the same part on Unit 1, EDF said, requiring thousands of hours less labour to manufacture. It added that this ‘replication effect’ will benefit the identical Sizewell C project in Suffolk – if and when that goes ahead.

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The achievement is said to be all the more impressive as the project deliberately switched materials and labour away from Unit 2 during the pandemic when numbers on site were limited and suppliers were impacted.  This allowed work to focus on areas most critical to the project’s schedule. The optimum construction time between the two reactors at Hinkley Point C is around 12 months and this installation highlights how this gap is being maintained, EDF said.

Simon Parsons, NI area, site & civils director said: “This significant lift is testament to everyone involved – from the teams who fabricated it, to those on Unit 2 who’ve delivered the civil-works schedule enabling us to install it and also the lifting team themselves. We have continued to learn from Unit 1 to safely deliver a quality product.”

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