World’s biggest crane keeps Hinkley power station project on track



The world’s biggest crane – nicknamed Big Carl - has been in action again at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, England. The Sarens SGC-250 - named after Carl Sarens director of global operations and technical solutions at the crane company - is a double ring crane with a reach of 275 m and maximum lift of 5,000 tonnes. 

It has placed the first huge steel ring section onto the second reactor building, just 11 months after the same operation on the first reactor. 

The installation shows how building an identical copy of the first reactor drives efficiency and saves time. The ring was built 25% more quickly than the same part on unit one, requiring thousands of hours less labour to manufacture. This “replication effect” will benefit the identical Sizewell C project in Suffolk. The prefabricated ring, which is 47 metres in diameter and 17 metres high, forms a reinforced cylinder around the nuclear reactor.
The achievement is all the more impressive as the project deliberately switched materials and labour away from unit two during the pandemic when numbers on site were limited and suppliers were impacted. This allowed work to focus on areas most critical to the project’s schedule.

Simon Parsons, NI area, site & civils director, said: “This significant lift is testament to everyone involved – from the teams who fabricated it, to those on Unit 2 who’ve delivered the civil-works schedule enabling us to install it and also the lifting team themselves. We have continued to learn from Unit 1 to safely deliver a quality product. Well done one and all.”