Interserve Press Office | Jul 22, 2011
In a UK first for the nuclear sector, Interserve, the international support services and construction group, has constructed the first two of 11 large, prefabricated modules required for the creation of the Evaporator D facility located at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, the biggest nuclear project under way in the UK.
The modules, being constructed for primary contractor Costain, will vary considerably in size. The first two, which have now been transported to Sellafield, are each 10m high, 7.5m wide and almost 10m in length and weigh over 100 tonnes. The largest will be 27m x12.5 m x 7.5 m and will weigh over 500 tonnes.
The modules comprise stainless steel and carbon steel structural steel frameworks containing vessels, pipe-work and other process equipment and are fabricated within Interserve's highly-controlled, specially-adapted environment at a five-acre, indoor facility near Ellesmere Port in the north-west of England. This is in close proximity to Interserve's existing pipe-work facility where the pipe sections are specially welded, X-rayed and pressure-tested to meet the exacting standards required.
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.
With project staff, including the Sellafield Ltd team and Costain, all sharing facilities on-site, the project co-ordination and delivery has benefitted from integrated working practices and on-site knowledge sharing.
Commenting on the project and the movement of the first modules David Bolton, Project Manager for Interserve, said: "This is the first time in the UK that the nuclear sector has chosen to prefabricate modules of this size and scale off-site. The benefits of Sellafield Ltd's modular strategy and of using a dedicated facility are significant: the ability to operate in a controlled workshop environment alleviates many of the traditional constraints of on-site construction within an operational facility; and since the Evaporator D facility is adjacent to other existing facilities and has a limited footprint, off-site construction ensures maximum safety and minimises intrusion in the operational complex.
"Interserve is one of only a very few companies in the UK with the specialist fabrication skills and facilities to be able to undertake this project. It's very important that the high-integrity, stainless steel elements of the modules aren't cross-contaminated, and it's possible to pre-commission each module within our facility, saving valuable time at Sellafield. Once the modules are constructed we use laser-scanning techniques to demonstrate and assure that the frameworks, vessels and pipe-work are installed within the tight dimensional package tolerances.
"The final task is to wrap the modules in a specialist shrink-wrap protective coating before the heavy-load specialist is brought into the equation. Interserve has been involved in making numerous modular structures for the chemical, oil and gas sectors and we know the importance of maintaining the package integrity during the road and sea transportation phase. This is why we designed the facility with self-propelled modular transporters (SPMT) in mind so they could simply drive in underneath the module, pick it up off its supports and drive away."
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Interserve's vision is to be the Trusted Partner of all our stakeholders. We are one of the world's foremost support services and construction companies, operating in the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally. We offer advice, design, construction and facilities management services for society's infrastructure and provide a range of plant and equipment in specialist fields. Interserve is based in the UK. It has revenue of £1.9 billion and a workforce of nearly 50,000 people worldwide.
General website: www.interserve.com