Marine operation caps HPC cooling water tunnels [–with video]

The barge cranes Rambis and Gulliver take the weight of the final head structure
The barge cranes Rambis and Gulliver take the weight of the final head structure

The final 5,000-tonne concrete structure was towed 30 nautical miles into the Bristol Channel to meet two floating heavylift cranes Gulliver and Rambiz – which have a combined lifting capacity of 7,300 tonnes.

The two cranes then worked in tandem to lower the cooling-water head structure onto the seabed. The operation took place on Friday 26th August.

The head structures cap the tunnels supplying Hinkley Point C’s two nuclear reactors with cooling water. They were manufactured by Balfour Beatty to nuclear grade specifications.

Now in position, the six head structures will be connected to the five miles of underground tunnels, allowing 120,000 litres of sea water to circulate every second. 

Balfour Beatty project director Roger Frost said: “This is truly another incredible achievement for everyone at Balfour Beatty. When you think about the construction and infrastructure industry, you often think of buildings rising from the ground above you – but sometimes, it is what is beneath the surface, that can really make the biggest impact.

“The successful lowering of the head structures is testament to Balfour Beatty’s unique capability in heavy civil engineering as well as our approach to tackling each complex operations with unrivalled skill and precision.”

Ian Beaumont, marine work project director at Hinkley Point C, said: “The successful installation of all six marine heads completes a summer of complex offshore operations in the most challenging of environments. Not only is it a significant milestone for the Hinkley Point C project, it also represents an incredible feat of engineering by the teams that have worked in close collaboration to design, construct and place with such precision these massive structures.”

Watch the video below to see how the final head structure is lowered into position.

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