HPC – RPV installation
SAFETY FIRST, EFFICIENCY ALWAYS
In February 2023, Osprey’s nuclear team co-ordinated the transportation of EDF’s new Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) in to Hinkley Point C (HPC).
Every safe delivery of an oversized asset to a nuclear construction site marks a milestone – it brings each project one step closer to providing nuclear energy to thousands of homes. Over the last three decades, it’s become clear that the importance of these new reactors cannot be underestimated as climate change and political landscapes prompt alternate decisions around energy supply.
With that in mind, we were thrilled to be appointed Tier 1 supplier to HPC – to co-ordinate, engineer and execute the most challenging heavy-lifts for supersized assets coming onto the site, just like these RPVs.
Weighing in at 500 tonnes and each one measuring 13 metres high, Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPV) are the large vessels that create the heat needed to make steam for the world’s largest turbine. When commissioned, HPC’s two RPVs will generate the electricity for almost six million homes. This was the first time in 30 years that a component of this significance had arrived in Britain (the last one, also manufactured by the French manufacturer, Framatome, was installed at Sizewell B in Suffolk).
OUR RO-RO SOLUTION
Combwich Wharf – our innovative ‘static RoRo’ solution for Hinkley Point C – is the key to bringing components like this onto the site. The River Parrett has a tidal range of 14 metres over 12 hours – the second highest tidal range in the world – which poses an enduring challenge for all AIL assets coming into the construction site this way. The solution itself took three years to engineer, but it overcomes huge environmental challenges, and has transformed the construction site’s AIL operational logistics, safety standards and productivity levels.
The first RPV unit arrived at Avonmouth Docks, where our barge team took safe possession and transported it to Combwich Wharf – there are many stakeholders and suppliers involved in transporting assets like this.
The next leg of the journey involved the five-hour navigation of a river that brings each RPV to Combwich Wharf, where it was off-loaded from our RO-RO solution and transported 4.6 miles by road to the EDF site using Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs). Having moved from the wharf up to the main construction area, the RPV will now be stored safely and securely until it’s installed in the Reactor Building itself.
- Barge Transport
- Heavy Lifting
- Project Management
- Road Transport
“WE'VE GAINED INSIGHTS FROM OUR WORK AT HPC THAT CAN HELP MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTION TO BRITAIN'S PLANS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY ... DELIVERING THE RPVS THIS WAY RAISED SAFETY LEVELS AND INCREASED EFFICIENCY FOR THE WHOLE PROJECT."Nigel Fletcher – CEO, Osprey