Hinkley Point C receives world's biggest crane

16 September 2019

The world's largest crane is ready to start work at the site of the Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power plant under construction in Somerset, England, EDF Energy has announced. Able to stand up to 250 metres high, 'Big Carl' can reach higher than the tallest tower at London’s Canary Wharf and can carry 5000 tonnes in a single lift, the company said.

'Big Carl' at Hinkley Point C (Image: EDF Energy)

French-owned EDF Energy is building two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point with CGN owning a 33.5% stake in the project. They also plan to build new plants at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex, the latter using Chinese reactor technology. The world's first EPR - unit 1 of the Taishan nuclear power plant in China's Guangdong province - was commissioned in December last year, while the second EPR, unit 2 at the same plant, entered commercial operation earlier this month.

The new Sarens SGC-250 crane will be used to lift large prefabricated sections of HPC into place. It was brought to HPC in 280 loads from its base in Antwerp via Bristol Port’s Avonmouth Docks.

The success of prefabrication has already been proved during construction of the two operational EPRs built by EDF and CGN at Taishan in China, EDF Energy said. Its use at Hinkley Point C is another example of the innovation made possible by experience gained and applied from other nuclear construction projects.

The SGC-250 runs along six kilometres of rail track and will lift 700 pieces, with a maximum weight of 1600 tonnes. At 50m radius, the crane can lift the equivalent of 32 single-storey houses or 1600 cars.

BYLOR - a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues TP - will use the SGC-250 as they complete the main civil engineering works at HPC.

Construction of the concrete basemat for the nuclear island of the first of two EPR units at HPC was completed in June.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News