New fabrication facility used for nuclear decommissioning project
ALE has delivered a unique jacking system for the removal of a reactor core on a nuclear decommissioning project in the UK. The company used its in-house steel fabrication capability to tailor-make the steel structure for the jacking system based on its Mega Jack 800 technology.
The project started in 2017 when ALE was tasked with designing, manufacturing, testing, installing and operating the core jacking system for the removal phase of an out-of-service nuclear reactor in the UK.
Because there was no commercial off-the-shelf system fit for purpose, ALE took its Mega Jack 800 jacking system and tailored it to meet the needs of the project. The team created an extended feed-in system for the lifting cassettes, a unique turntable to sit underneath the reactor, an interface system, a recovery frame, a containment tray, gutter tray and effluent management system.
Sandy White, Regional Engineering Manager at ALE, explained:
“Our Mega Jack 800 typically consists of four 800t-capacity towers that are made up of layered cassettes that are fed-in while the load is raised using hydraulic pressure.”
“The space restrictions on the project site meant we could only use one tower. The jacking system also had to be built with a recovery frame to ensure there was a redundant fail-safe in place. As a result, we’ve designed the jack with a skidding system that can be moved into position underneath the reactor to safely lift the reactor by 8m from its enclosure to be dismantled.
“The construction of the customised elements of the project was made possible using our own fabrication facilities at our Hixon branch in Staffordshire, UK,” continued White. “The facility excels in using a variety of the latest steel fabrication techniques to ensure we can deliver a customised solution for every customer need, no matter how demanding.”
ALE’s fabrication capability is accredited to CE standards, including the higher Execution Class 3 level under BS EN1090, a European standard that regulates the fabrication and assembly of steel and aluminium structures. The project has been executed in several stages and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2019.