Bilfinger completes core meltdown stabilisation system for Hinkley Point C

18 July 2023

Bilfinger has completed and delivered the Core Melt Stabilisation System at Hinkley Point C, a key safety-relevant component for the nuclear power plant currently under construction in the UK. In the event of a core meltdown, this system, with its demanding engineering requirements, is designed to help restore the molten core to a secure condition after it has been released from the reactor pressure vessel.

The CMSS is a key component of the safety concept for the new nuclear power plant and consists of several structural elements weighing several tons that act as a safeguard beneath the reactor block. In the event of a core meltdown, this system acts as a defined predetermined breaking point and helps to bring the core meltdown to a safe condition. During regular operation, the fusible plug below the reactor pressure vessel can be used as a maintenance hole.

Bilfinger was able to draw on its years of experience with large-scale new nuclear construction projects for the work on the CMSS. It had already developed the components for the first CMSS during construction of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland, which features an EPR-type reactor. Further CMSS components for reactors of the EPR type were delivered to plants in Flamanville, France, and Taishan, China.

In parallel, Bilfinger is working on several piping construction projects for Hinkley Point C, primarily execution design, manufacturing and assembly of complex piping systems and equipment for the nuclear steam and water supply systems as well as for special piping structures at the heart of the nuclear power plant. Bilfinger will manufacture hundreds of km of special corrosion-protected pipe spools with diameters ranging from 10 to 800 mm and wall thicknesses from 2 to 60 mm.

The total order volume for Bilfinger’s scope on Hinkley Point C amounts to over half a billion euros.

Image: Hinkley Point C (courtesy of Bilfinger)

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