Goliath crane for retrievals

Sellafield Ltd has taken an important step towards retrieving waste from a 60-year old nuclear waste storage silo, now that a mammoth Semi Goliath crane has been installed.

The crane in an integral part of a new Waste Retrieval Facility (WRF) being built alongside the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS) and will be used to lift 3m 3 legacy nuclear waste packages onto road transporters.

The PFCS was built in 1951 to store radioactive fuel cladding from the military Windscale Piles and later from Calder Hall and Chapelcross reactors. It’s effectively a giant concrete safe which has reached the end of its life and extreme safe breaking skills are going to be used to break through the thick concrete walls and remove the radioactive waste.

The WRF is made up of a giant concrete superstructure, into which bespoke waste retrieval modules will be slotted and these will dock onto the side of the PFCS to retrieve the waste through specially designed silo doors.

Neil Crewdson, Head of PFCS Projects said: “We’ve had to bring in a 350 tonne capacity mobile crane to build our crane at Sellafield. The Semi Goliath arrived in 12 separate lorry loads and was erected over two weeks in an extremely tight space. The team had to carry out the delicate job with surgical precision in order to ensure the safety of the legacy waste silo and its radioactive contents.

“The workforce had to cope with extremes of weather including snow and high winds, but still managed to complete the job ahead of target. The Semi Goliath crane will now be placed under a care and maintenance regime until the rest of the retrievals facility has been completed and we’re ready to start handling the historic waste.”

It took many years to bring the £3m complex crane design to a manufactured reality. It weighs a total of 109 tonnes and was effectively test-constructed at a site in Gateshead, where load and works testing were carried out. The crane has a 63 tonne safe working load capacity and has a design life of 20 years.

Paul Foster, NMP Executive Director for Sellafield Ltd, Decommissioning said: “There’s a complex jigsaw of pieces that need to be in place to decommission the 1950s Pile Fuel Cladding Silo and erection of the Semi Goliath crane means we can now see the picture on the box.

“We have a responsibility to the local community around Sellafield to carry out the decommissioning programme safely and with respect to the environment. We are pulling out all the stops to construct the waste retrievals superstructure, to design and build the waste retrievals modules and to better characterise the radioactive waste contained in the silo to meet this commitment.

“It’s another example of the substantial progress we’re making in high hazard and risk reduction at Sellafield

by safely accelerating our decommissioning programme and driving towards the earliest possible date for clean up.”

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