Big Carl’s biggest lift ends 2020 at Hinkley Point C


The world’s largest crane, Big Carl, has just completed its biggest ever lift at Hinkley Point C – lifting a total weight of 575 tonnes

Big Carl‘s lift was to install the first of three massive prefabricated steel rings which form the reinforced cylinder around the nuclear reactor.

The 17m tall ring with a diameter of 47m – was lifted out of a bunker where it was constructed in factory conditions – one of the innovations to improve quality on the project.

Big Carl reached out 160m to put it in place during a night lift – timed to take advantage of lighter winds during a four-day operation.

Quality and efficiency

Hinkley Point C managing director, Stuart Crooks, said: “This spectacular lift is a remarkable achievement in a year when everyone has had to make extraordinary efforts to keep the site and community safe from infection.

“The precision involved is like watch-making on an industrial scale.

“Our ability to maintain progress in such tough circumstances is a testament to the commitment of the workforce and our suppliers across Britain and the world.

“Construction of Hinkley Point C’s two reactors continues to provide evidence that repeating an identical design improves quality and efficiency – something that will bring big benefits to Sizewell C in Suffolk.”

Lift facts

  • The first steel containment ring weighs 382 tonnes – around the weight of a 747 Jumbo jet – lifting gear took the total lift weight to 575 tonnes.
  • The liner ring is the second of five pieces that make up the steel containment for each reactor, including the base and the dome.
  • Big Carl is 250m tall, moves on rail tracks and will eventually lift pieces weighing more than 1,000 tonnes.
  • The ring was gently placed on 96 hydraulic jacks which lowered the ring into its exact position.


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