The world’s largest land-based crane, “Big Carl”, completed its second major lift last week at Hinkley Point C near Burnham-On-Sea.

The second of three prefabricated steel rings to form the reinforced cylinder around the new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C has been lifted from the bunker in which it was constructed to a lay-down area.

The ring – which is 17m tall and 47m wide – is now being prepared for the final lift into the first reactor building.

It was constructed in factory conditions in the bunker – one of the innovations to improve quality on the project.

Prefabrication inside these bunkers reduces the need to work at height or in bad weather and the work can be completed and checked in a controlled setting.

Big Carl lifted the first ring into place in December. The second ring was built 36% faster than the first due to the teams’ construction experience.

During the project, Big Carl will lift more than 500 prefabricated steel and concrete elements weighing up to 1,600t.

Hinkley Point C managing director Stuart Crooks said: “Our belief that we can do things better drives innovation at Hinkley Point C. As we build the first UK European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) we are learning and improving all the time.

“This is leading to improved productivity as we build Hinkley Point C’s twin reactors. We will use that experience to underpin our plans for two more identical reactors at Sizewell C.”

The plant is due to open in June 2026 and not in 2025 as first planned and will cost between £22bn and £23bn, as we recently reported here.

 
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