Big Carl takes the tension: World’s tallest crane lifts the steel ring into place at Hinkley Point C

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Big Carl takes the pressure: World’s tallest crane lifts 1,600-ton steel ring as Britain’s last nuclear power plant takes shape at Hinkley Point

  • The 820 foot tall crane is used in the construction of a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C, Somerset
  • This will help lift a 55 foot tall, 154 foot wide metal ring on the structure – the second of three for the large construction
  • The prefabricated steel ring is part of the reinforced cylinder around the nuclear reactor of the power plant
  • Big Carl will lift more than 500 precast steel and concrete elements – weighing up to 1,600 tonnes

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These awe-inspiring images capture the moment when the world’s tallest crane lifts a massive steel ring at the site of a new nuclear power plant in the UK.

Nicknamed ‘Big Carl’, the enormous machine, which stands 820 feet tall, lifted the giant steel structure into position at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

It is the second of three prefabricated steel rings to form the reinforced cylinder around the new nuclear reactor at the new £ 23 billion power plant.

In addition to the rings, Big Carl will lift more than 500 prefabricated steel and concrete units weighing up to 1,600 tonnes as part of the construction.

Owned and operated by the Belgian crane company Sarens, “Big Carl” can transport 5,000 tonnes in a single lift.

These awe-inspiring images capture the moment the world’s tallest crane lifts a massive steel ring at a UK power station

Nicknamed 'Big Carl', the enormous machine, which stands 820 feet tall, lifted the giant metal structure into position at Hinkley Point C

Nicknamed ‘Big Carl’, the enormous machine, which stands 820 feet tall, lifted the giant metal structure into position at Hinkley Point C

Big Carl: in facts and figures

Height: 850 feet high

Weight: about 10,000 tons

Range of: 900 feet

Capable of lifting: 5000 tons

Supported by: 52 counterweight containers each weighing 100 tonnes

Powered by: 12 engines

Owner: Belgian crane operator Sarens

How did it get here: transported from Belgium on more than 250 trucks

What is its real name: SGC-250 – which stands for “ Sarens Giant Crane 250 ”

Over the weekend, Big Carl lifted the second ring in the new powerhouse.

The 55-foot-high ring, with a diameter of 154 feet, was built 36% faster than the first ring – which was put in place in December.

The teams were able to speed up production thanks to the experience acquired during the construction of the first ring.

The prefabricated steel ring was lifted from a bunker where it was built under factory conditions – one of the innovations to improve the quality of the project.

Prefabrication inside these bunkers reduces the need to work at heights or in bad weather and work can be completed and controlled in a controlled environment.

Stuart Crooks, Managing Director of Hinkley Point C, said: “ Our belief that we can do things better drives innovation at Hinkley Point C.

“As we build the first European Pressure Reactor (EPR) in the UK, we are constantly learning and improving.

“This leads to improved productivity when we build the twin reactors at Hinkley Point C.

“We will use this experience to support our plans for two other identical reactors at Sizewell C.”

It comes as, earlier this month, another major construction milestone was taken at Hinkley with the final pouring of concrete for the nuclear power plant’s six cooling tunnel heads.

The 3,200 megawatt nuclear power plant (MWe) construction project is expected to be completed by 2025 and is expected to cost more than £ 23 billion.

It is the first nuclear power plant to be built in the UK in over 20 years.

The ring is the second of three prefabricated steel rings to form the reinforced cylinder around the new nuclear reactor at the new £ 23 billion power plant.

The ring is the second of three prefabricated steel rings to form the reinforced cylinder around the new nuclear reactor at the new £ 23 billion power plant.

The 55-foot-high ring, with a diameter of 154 feet, was built 36% faster than the first ring.  The teams were able to speed up production thanks to the experience gained during the construction of the first ring

The 55-foot-high ring, with a diameter of 154 feet, was built 36% faster than the first ring. The teams were able to speed up production thanks to the experience acquired during the construction of the first ring

The 3,200 megawatt nuclear power plant (MWe) construction project is expected to be completed by 2025 and is expected to cost more than £ 23 billion.  It is the first nuclear power plant to be built in the UK in over 20 years

The 3,200 megawatt nuclear power plant (MWe) construction project is expected to be completed by 2025 and is expected to cost more than £ 23 billion. It is the first nuclear power plant to be built in the UK in over 20 years

The plant, owned by EDF Energy, will include two European pressure reactors (EPR). It will produce enough energy to power six million homes.

The plant was one of eight nuclear sites announced by the government in 2010. In November 2012, a nuclear site permit was granted to move the project forward and EDF subsequently approved the project.

Hinkley Point is already home to Hinkley Point A – a nuclear power plant that was decommissioned in 2000 – and Hinkley Point B – which is slated to be decommissioned next year.

In total, the UK currently has 15 operational nuclear reactors at seven sites across the UK including Dungeness in Kent and Sizewell in Suffolk.



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