Interserve has constructed the 11 large, prefabricated modules required to create the evaporator plant at its dedicated facility in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
The modules vary considerably in size. The smallest are 10m high, 7.5m wide, almost 10m in length and weigh over 100 tonnes. The largest are 27m x 12.5m x 7.5m and will weigh over 500 tonnes. It includes more than 21 kilometres of pipework and over 10,000 specialist welds.
This is the first time that the nuclear sector has chosen to pre-fabricate modules of this size and scale off-site. The benefits of this approach are significant: the impressive five-acre site is a highly-controlled environment – capable of avoiding cross contamination and ensuring maximum safety -essential when working in the nuclear industry. All the pipework has been fabricated at our existing facility close by, where all sections are specially welded, x-rayed and pressure tested to meet exacting standards.
Before transportation, the modules are shrink-wrapped in a specialist protective coating. Having been involved in making numerous modular structures for the chemical, oil and gas sectors, we know the importance of maintaining the package integrity during road and sea transportation.
Safety and the environment
In addition to constructing the modules it was necessary, in conjunction with the Highways Agency, to provide a safe route for the 1.5 km journey between the fabrication facility and the embarkation dock at Ellesmere Port. This involved some road alterations, the movement of street furniture and approval to use the bridge crossing over the M53 to accommodate the loads. At the dock the modules were loaded onto a barge before sailing 90 miles north to a beach adjacent to the Sellafield site on the West Cumbrian Coast.
Once completed, Evaporator D will dramatically cut the Active Liquor and waste produced at Sellafield by a factor of 20. Its positive impact on safety and the environment is vital to the reputation of the nuclear industry in the UK.