Big Carl’s spectacular dome lift caps the year at Hinkley Point C
The dome for Hinkley Point C’s first reactor building has been successfully lifted into place. The major milestone closes the roof on the first reactor building, allowing the first nuclear reactor to be installed next year. The power station’s two nuclear reactors will provide reliable zero-carbon electricity for six million homes, boosting Britain’s energy security for decades to come.
Engineering teams lifted the 245-tonne steel dome precisely into place on top of the reactor building. The achievement ends the year on a high as the 14-metre-tall dome sits on top of the 44-metre-high reactor building.
The dome is the top part of the reactor building’s inner containment – a steel cylinder encased in concrete. Measuring 47m in diameter, it is wider than the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral – and made up of 38 prefabricated panels which were shipped to Hinkley Point C and welded together in an onsite factory.
Polar crane lifted into Unit 1 reactor building
Shortly before dome lift, Big Carl, the world’s biggest crane, swung into action to lift the polar crane to the top of the Unit 1 reactor building. The crane, which runs on rails around the circumference of the building, will be used to install heavy equipment inside the building and then for maintenance and refuelling once HPC is operational. It was shipped to site in the form of around 500 components, including two massive support beams each weighing 143 tonnes and measuring 40-metres long. The components were put together over several months in a temporary building next to the HPC training centre before being lifted in one go as a complete assembly.
Vital fuel unit installed
The transfer compartment pool (TCP) was lifted out of the east pool bunker and positioned inside the fuel building. The TCP’s function will be to move fuel assemblies through a horizontal transfer channel into and out of the reactor building. Weighing in at 1,200 tonnes of stainless steel, concrete and lifting tackle, the TCP is one of the heaviest objects to be lifted by Big Carl during the life of the project.
Control room in place
The main control room (MCR) has been successfully lifted into the Unit 1 safeguard building. Once the plant is up and running, the MCR will be home to a team of reactor operators who will monitor and run the power station.
Taken from The Point December 2023