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Major surface protection works at new nuclear power station

Bunker with scaffolding

Over the duration of the project KAEFER will blast, prime and apply specialist protective coatings to more than 30,000m² of liner steel and apply more than 25,000 litres of paint.

This is a complex and challenging project and this is why it’s critical that we are a learning organisation.

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As surface protection specialists at Tier 2 on Hinkley Point C, we know there’s more to watching paint dry than the saying suggests.

The assembly and installation works on the inner containment liner for both Unit 1 and Unit 2 have been a major focus of this year’s construction at HPC. And making sure each structure is properly protected from the elements is just as crucial for the safety and integrity of the build.

Inner containment liner

The steel inner containment liner forms the cylinder structure of the main reactor. It’s being constructed in five parts: the Liner Cup at the bottom, followed by three cylindrical rings and then the dome sitting on top. The Liner Cup weighs 170 tonnes, and has a diameter of more than 50m. Each of the inner containment rings is around 20m high.

Surface protection works to coat the Liner Cup in Unit 2 began in August. Getting to the point of starting the works on Site was the first big milestone for our team on site.

Trevor Woodward, our Business and Strategy Director, said: “The surface protection is applied as a critical part of the nuclear safety system. The technical process has involved a high level of quality assurance, inspections and stringent health, safety and environmental assessment, so it’s definitely been a long journey to get to the point of applying paint. We have to thank all the KAEFER team again for their efforts so far.”

Careful planning and collaboration

The team started the painting works in Bunker 5, where Unit 2’s Liner Cup has been pre-assembled. The KAEFER team has worked closely with Bylor, Tissot and EDF over the past 12 months to plan the specialist coating works around the assembly stages.

The processes for application of the specialist paint systems were developed in close collaboration with the Quality and Environment teams. The works included mock-ups of the Liner sections, so that the materials could be accurately tested during and after the curing process.

Safe and effective delivery

We designed specialist access and climate controlled containment systems with our Scaffolding, Access and Rescue teams, which is also crucial to ensure the safe and effective delivery of the blasting and painting works.

Our team will go on to paint Unit 1’s Liner Cup in situ on the first Reactor Building, as well as the remaining three containment rings and domes for each unit after they’re assembled in Bunkers 5 and 6.

Trevor added: “This is a complex and challenging project and this is why it’s critical that we are a learning organisation. At each stage we capture return on experience and make continuous improvements to our procedures and co-ordination processes.

“It’s a rare privilege to work on a build of such scale and magnitude as HPC. The project approach is ideally suited to our KAEFER LEAN culture. We want to do everything we can to help the Project achieve its milestones and reduce time spent on all activities, but especially focusing now on these works on the path to Dome Lift."