Erith carried out the controlled demolition of a 150-tonne overhead gantry crane this week at our Turbine Hall demolition project at Hinkley Point, working hand-in-hand with Magnox.
Sitting in between the operational nuclear power station located at Hinkley Point B & Europe’s largest construction site at Hinkley Point C, Hinkley Point A power station is currently being dismantled.
The Hinkley Point A site in Somerset is a former Magnox nuclear power station, located on the North shore of the county. It first went operational in 1966 and generated enough electricity to power three cities the size of Exeter for almost 40 years.
The iconic turbine hall was Europe’s largest free-standing structure for an amazing 22 years, reinforcing the scale of the plant and its construction make up.
The site ceased generating in the early 2000’s and has been decommissioning ever since.
The project is the third Turbine Hall to be demolished under the Demolition, De-Plant and Asbestos framework established in 2011, following completion of the much acclaimed Bradwell Turbine Hall project. This framework has seen Erith successfully deliver a series of large and intricate asbestos removal and demolition works in challenging and sensitive environments.
The successful delivery of months of asbestos removal, soft strip and de-plant work that enabled the days’ spectacular controlled collapse, culminated in the structural demolition of the overhead crane earlier this month.
Following pre-weakening and crane preparation works, the crane was winched from its position at the West end of the Hall. 500 tonne winches were used to move it away from the active drains that run across the site carrying radioactive waste to the Active Effluent Treatment and Control block.
The overhead crane was used to lift and lower operational plant items up to 145 tonnes in weight over its 40-year lifecycle. The crane spanned over 30 metres in width and was positioned 12 metres above the floor level of the turbine hall. It is estimated it would have carried out over 29,000 lifts during its time in operation. Constructed on the Clyde, it represented the best of British.
The demolition event of the overhead crane gantry was safely watched by hundreds of spectators and was made possible following careful planning and modelling with our in-house engineering consultants, Swanton Consulting. This included comprehensive vibration modelling to control risk to adjacent operational facilities
Utilising our vast experience in the heavy industrial sector, suitable attachments were affixed to a Hitachi ZX470 excavator which was utilised to drag the 150-tonne crane out of the structure and safely onto an engineered splash mat under fully controlled conditions.
Chris Platts, Assistant Project Manager, commented: “I’m delighted to be here today with my Erith colleagues and members of the Magnox team carrying out this most challenging and demanding of demolition tasks. Controlled collapses of this kind take meticulous planning and I am delighted to be part of the Erith site team safely delivering this part of the Magnox legacy plant into its Care and Maintenance phase, where it will be maintained in a passively safe and secure state until it can be eventually declassified as a nuclear site.”