HPC News Update – March 2023

Reactor pressure vessel arrives at site

The first reactor pressure vessel (RPV) manufactured for a British nuclear power station in more than 30 years has arrived at HPC. At 13m high and weighing 500 tonnes, the vessel will create the heat needed to make steam for the world’s largest turbine. The RPV was manufactured by Framatome at its factory in Saint-Marcel, France, before arriving at Avonmouth Docks, in Bristol, then being moved by barge to Combwich Wharf and on to site via a special road transporter.

Key tunnel support installed

Balfour Beatty has successfully installed the first internal ring prop (IRP) – a large 14m-long steel support structure – into intake tunnel one. There are six IRPs in total, two in each tunnel. They provide extra stability before work begins on linking the tunnels to the heads, which are located on the seabed of the Bristol Channel.

Complex fit-out under way

The complex fit-out of Unit 1’s core catcher is now under way. A key safety feature of the EPR design, it is designed to contain the core in the extremely unlikely events of an incident.

Massive pour for floor

The Bylor Unit 1 team poured two concrete slabs requiring a combined 49 tonnes of rebar, a formwork area of 340m2 and 140m3 of concrete, for what will eventually become the operating floor of the reactor building. Alongside the slabs, a concrete ring wall was also cast into position.

Second tank lifted into place

The second of four accumulator tanks was lifted into position by Big Carl in the north-east corner of the Unit 1 reactor building. The accumulators are an essential safety component that will kick into life supplying coolant to the primary circuit in case of a loss-of-coolant incident and without the need for outside intervention. The huge tank weighs in at around 50 tonnes and measures at 9.1m tall by 3.5m in diameter.

Taken from The Point March 2023

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