UK: Milestone at Sellafield Nuclear Facility

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For example, says Phillips, Costain buys the stainless steel for the evaporator module, sends it to a mill in Sweden to be turned into sheets, then upon its return oversees it being transformed into components for the modules. “Costain Energy & Process has managed it right from the material stage. That way, we can guarantee its provenance.”

The 11 modules – the largest of which weighs 500 tonnes – are being constructed by a supply chain partner in Ellesmere Port, in Merseyside. These outsize loads are brought to Sellafield by barge and then transported across a beach, railway line, the River Ehen and public road to the site.

A temporary bridge has been constructed over the Eden using four, 38-metre steel beams. A further two beams, known as the Kursk Beams (after being originally fabricated to help raise the Russian nuclear submarine of that name that sank in 2000) are being used as part of a gantry in the Evaporator D building. This 35-metre-high gantry will be used to install the modules in the building.

The modules have to be completed to Build Level One – “The highest quality level you can get”, says Phillips. “Everything has to be 100% inspected.” Every weld, of which there are 2,000 in the evaporator module alone, needs to be radiographed.

The next 18 months should see completion of the civils side of the project, together with installation of the modules and around 70% of the mechanical, engineering and instrumentation equipment installed.