Lifting the lid on Thorp

The lid was lifted on Thorp this week to allow the installation of a new Medium Active Salt Free Evaporator (MASFE).

Part of the roof has been removed and the first of four huge vessels – costing around £5m – was craned in on December 19.

Jordan Nuclear was awarded the £5.9m contract back in March and local Carlisle company Bendalls Engineering has been tasked with manufacturing the vessels. The first vessel to be installed weighs almost 20 tes and is over 11 metres in length the size of a double decker bus.

The Liebherr LTM 1800 crane is one of the largest in Europe and an 80te rigging crane has had to be brought in to build the crane itself. The crane performed the delicate operation of lifting the huge vessels some 34 metres in order to lower them in through the roof of Thorp. Project manager, Eleanor Billson said: “The new facility will replace the existing MASFE which is nearing the end of its life. This is a major engineering challenge which has required significant planning and we had to work very hard to reassure ourselves and our regulator that we could carry out such an unusual operation safely.

“This has been a very challenging project but I’m delighted that we have reached this major milestone. The whole project team has really pulled together and we are actually six months ahead of the original lifetime plan schedule to install the vessels.”

Thorp was designed with a spare evaporator cell containing support steel work, cladding and tie-ins already installed in the event that a new evaporator was required.

Steve Cockayne, Head of Thorp said: “Thorp has successfully reprocessed its first campaign of fuel and we are delighted with the plant’s performance. This project is required to allow Thorp to continue reprocessing customers’ fuel, which we are committed to doing.”