Crossing the ocean was the easy part of the long journey. “This was the most challenging large-component delivery in Areva’s history,” said George Beam, chief operating officer of Areva NP Inc. “Delivering these generators required complex logistics involving government and regulatory agencies in two states and numerous local communities and authorities.”

Manufactured in Areva’s nuclear component facility in Chalon Saint-Marcel, France, the two enhanced once-through steam generators began their trans-Atlantic journey in August from a port in Fos-sur-Mer, passing through the Strait of Gibraltar before entering the open ocean. Two weeks later, the steam generators arrived at a private deepwater marine terminal in Claymont, Delaware where they were transferred from the cargo ship to separate barges for transport to Tomes Marina, a private facility in Port Deposit, Maryland.

Project managers Sue Coleman and Karen Rudd worked collaboratively with local communities and state and federal agencies to chart the best course for the transport. The project required coordination with and approvals from over 150 agencies and governmental entities to obtain the required 18 permits to travel through 23 municipalities.

Fagioli, Inc., the Houston, Texas branch of heavy-lift transport company the Fagioli Group, provided the two transporters and seasoned operators to manoeuvre the hills, dells, bridges and 90-degree turns in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Pennsylvania company Michael Baker Jr., Inc. provided planning, engineering and permitting services, and Kinsley Construction provided construction, detours/traffic control and logistics.

Each steam generator was 22.4m (73.5ft) and 3.8m (12.5ft) in diameter, lying flat. The over-the-road configuration was 47m (153ft) long, 7.3m (24ft) high and 5.3m (17.5ft) wide, and weighed 789.5t (1,768,570 lbs).

The multi-axle transport vehicles distributed the weight to minimise risk for infrastructure damage. There were a total of 26 pairs of axles in the transporter configuration (208 wheels), broken down into 12-axle and 14-axle units that were connected with beams and hydraulic lines. Weight per axle on the 14-axle unit was 15t (30,900 lbs). Weight per axle on the 12-axle unit was 16t (32,900 lbs).

According to permits issued by the Maryland and Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation, the generators were allowed to move during hours of daylight during the working week, spreading the land journey to 14 days duration. The transports averaged one to two miles an hour, reaching a maximum speed of three mph.

Project research and planning began in 2005 and continued through the transport. Significant challenges in Pennsylvania included use of multiple temporary bridges, narrow roadways and growing crowds. Despite their overwhelmingly supportive demeanor, the excitement often caused onlookers to lose sight of their own safety. The engineering, construction and logistics included analysis and mitigations for 51 stream crossings on the route, plus hundreds of manholes, storm drains and culverts.


Credit: AREVA

The first of two steam generators is backed out of Tomes Marina in Maryland

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