In Pictures: Giant crane lifts final steel liner ring at Hinkley Point C unit 1

12 December 2022

The world’s largest crane, called 'Big Carl', lifted the 304-tonne steel liner ring on to the first reactor building at Hinkley Point in the early hours of Monday.

The crane is called 'Big Carl' (Image: EDF)

The liner ring is the third and last one to be installed on the building which will be home to one of Hinkley Point C’s two reactors. It increased the height by 11.6-metres, and now stands at 44-metres.

There was no wind, but very cold weather for the overnight lift (Image: EDF)

The ring was prefabricated in a factory on the site in south west England. It includes supporting brackets for the Polar Crane Beam, an internal crane which will be able to rotate above the reactor and used for refuelling in the years to come.

The dome is expected to be placed on the reactor building during 2023.

The liner ring was prefabricated on-site (Image: EDF)

Construction of Hinkley Point C - composed of two EPR reactors of 1630 MWe each - began in December 2018. Unit 1 of the plant was originally scheduled to start up by the end of 2025.

In January 2021, EDF said the start of electricity generation from unit 1 had been rescheduled to June 2026. Delays arising from the COVID-19 pandemic would also increase the cost of the project by GBP500 million to between GBP22 and 23 billion.

In May this year, following a review, EDF announced the start of electricity generation for HPC unit 1 is now expected in June 2027 and the project completion costs were now estimated in the range of GBP25 to 26 billion.

The 'Big Carl' crane, pictured in 2019 (Image: EDF)

The crane used can reach higher than the tallest tower at London’s Canary Wharf and can carry 5000 tonnes in a single lift, the company said when it arrived in 2019.

The Sarens SGC-250 crane was delivered to Hinkley Point in 280 loads from its base in Antwerp via Bristol Port’s Avonmouth Docks.

There are six kilometres of rail track for 'Big Carl' to run along, and it was estimated that during the construction process it would 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.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News