Reactor dome lift caps year at Hinkley Point C

December 22, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Workers place the dome atop Hinkley Point C’s first reactor building on December 15. (Photo: EDF Energy)

EDF Energy’s new nuclear build megaproject at Hinkley Point C last Friday moved forward—or, more literally, upward then downward—when workers, with a substantial assist from Big Carl, the world’s largest crane, successfully lifted the C1 reactor building’s 47-meter-wide, 245-ton steel dome into place.

The lift allows for the installation of the first of two 1,630-MWe EPR units at the site, located in Somerset, England. Installation of the first reactor is scheduled for 2024.

According to EDF’s December 15 announcement, the dome lift was carefully planned to take advantage of a weather window to allow the hour-and-a-half-long maneuver to be completed in low-wind conditions.

The dome is made up of 38 prefabricated panels that were shipped to Hinkley Point C and welded together in an on-site factory, the announcement stated.

Official words: “Building the first nuclear power station in a generation is a challenging job, and the success of this complex operation is due to the determination and commitment of our fantastic teams,” said Simon Parsons, Hinkley Point C nuclear island area director. “Lifting the dome allows us to get on with the fitting of equipment, pipes, and cables, including the first reactor, which is on site and ready to be installed next year.”

Andrew Bowie, the U.K. government’s minister for nuclear and renewables, added, “This is a major milestone in building Britain’s first nuclear reactor in a generation, and a key part of the U.K. government’s plans to revitalize nuclear. Generating enough zero-carbon power for six million homes, Hinkley Point C will reduce our reliance on imported energy and support our shift to net zero.”

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