The landscape at the Evaporator D construction site at Sellafield is changing as work is underway to complete the building of the gantry system in preparation for the arrival of the first modules to the site.
A heavy lifting gantry system is needed to lift the modules into the building. If the gantry was unavailable, equipment would have to be installed piece by piece and would have required many more lifting operations in the direct vicinity of major plants.
The gantry comprises a structural steel lifting frame which will has been erected adjacent to Evaporator D and will be used to lift and slide pre-fabricated process modules, the largest of which is up to 500 tonnes in mass, into the pre- built reinforced concrete structure of the building.
Essentially proprietary, with a number of bespoke items, the gantry comprises of existing prefabricated component parts, including tracks, tower sections, bracing, top beams and lifting equipment, all assembled onto pre-prepared foundations.
It is capable of movement, whilst un-laden, in a north – south direction alongside the Evaporator D building to allow alignment with specific cells.
The structure has been assembled on two foundations. Construction of the foundations involved ground excavation followed by installation of the reinforced concrete bases.
It is expected that the gantry will take approximately five weeks to completely erect, although this is heavily weather dependent. Due to the limited working area adjacent to the Evaporator D site some of the component parts are being pre-assembled near the Sellafield rail sidings.
Dave Robinson, from the Sellafield Ltd construction team, said: “The gantry works currently being undertaken on site is the culmination of three years of preparatory works by a significant number of the Evaporator D Alliance personnel, supported by our local neighbours of the Inactive Tank Farm, Railways and High Level Waste Plants. To see the gantry work commence and progress inline with expectations is a testament to the hard work of the off-site engineers and the professionalism of the on site Alliance team.”
For further information on the Evaporator D project please click here.