‘Flatpack’ crane procurement set to save millions at Sellafield

A new ‘flatpack’ approach to buying cranes for Sellafield is set to save £53m for the UK taxpayer and speed up the decommissioning of Europe’s most complex nuclear site.

Sellafield Ltd has adopted a new procurement model, known as ‘category management’, meaning it no longer has to buy one-off bespoke cranes.

Instead the company can order standardised crane modules and then assemble them on site as required.

The switch delivers a huge cost saving and is set to speed up progress on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s 100 year programme to clean up the site.

This new approach – developed under the leadership of Nuclear Management Partners – could also be applied to the procurement of other large manufactured items at Sellafield, bringing further multi-million pound savings for the taxpayer.

Robert Astall, Sellafield Ltd’s Commercial Director, said: “Previously, when we needed a high integrity crane at Sellafield, a bespoke model had to be produced.

“This meant much time and cost was taken up on the design, inspection and testing of one-off solutions for broadly common requirements.

“Using category management principles, we have developed one standard crane for the two major requirements on site – in cell and out cell – with nine possible variations,

“That means we can provide timely and cost-effective cranes to support the Sellafield mission, accelerating progress on reducing the hazards on the site – our number one priority – while saving millions of pounds for our customer, the UK taxpayer.”

The contract for in cell cranes (up to 34 in total) has been awarded to Reel/Ansaldo NES, an international joint venture. The cranes will be partly manufactured at the Ansaldo NES site in Wolverhampton. The firm will use its facility at Haile, near Egremont, Cumbria, for crane testing and personnel training, which will result in the creation of five new jobs at the facility.

The contract for out cell cranes (24 in total) has been won by Spanish organisation Taim Weser.

In cell cranes are overhead cranes designed for use in highly active areas of the site, where human entry is prohibited.

Out cell/nuclear lift cranes are overhead cranes designed for lifting and moving large nuclear packages, where stability and robustness is critical to plant operations