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Lifting girdles for largest nuclear lift in the UK

18 August 2008

Corus Process Engineering (CPE) has completed the manufacture and assembly of two, six-metre diameter steel lifting girdles that will be used to remove the 400-tonne heat exchangers from the reactors at Calder Hall nuclear power plant in Cumbria.

Manufactures lifting girdles for largest nuclear lift in the UK
Manufactures lifting girdles for largest nuclear lift in the UK

Each reactor has four vertically mounted heat exchangers. These are located externally to the reactor building and were clad for insulation and weather protection. The heat exchangers weigh around 400 tonnes and measure 27m in length with a diameter of 5.5m. This will represent the largest ever lift in the UK nuclear industry. CPE delivered the lifting girdles to its customer Nuvia Limited at the end of February 2008. Nuvia is one of several contractors chosen by Sellafield Limited to decommission the Calder Hall site. Part of Nuvia’s responsibility was to design lifting girdles and cradles to enable the heat exchangers to be lifted, tailed and transported a lay down area. To do this two lifting girdles were required to lift and tail the vessels, which is where CNES’ fabrication and machining expertise came in.

Machining was carried out at CNES’ Scunthorpe machine shop using a large horizontal boring machine. CNES also had to construct spider structures to brace the two halves of the girdle during fabrication. Each half has a trunnion fitted at 90° to the joint face. The girdles were then stress relieved and finish machined on the joint faces. The fitted bolts used to fasten the two halves together measured almost one metre in length with a diameter of 115mm. The units were inspected and painted prior to delivery to Nuvia
Steve Snowden, Production Control Engineer at CNES Structural Workshops commented: “Nuvia selected CPE because it trusted us and felt confident that we possessed the necessary technical expertise to carry out the job. We could also handle the front-end engineering that was required, plus provide all the traceability, method statements and other quality assurance-related factors that were key to the project. We also understand all the health and safety related regulations that are always our highest priority and we have the necessary fabrication, machining and surface treatment expertise to carry out the work to the required standards.”

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