Bilfinger completes core melt system for Hinkley Point C

11 July 2023

Industrial services provider Bilfinger has completed the Core Melt Stabilisation System (CMSS) for the Hinkley Point C NPP under construction in the UK. In the highly unlikely event of a core meltdown, this system 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 highly unlikely 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 many years of experience with large-scale new nuclear construction projects for the work on the CMSS. The company had already developed the components for the first CMSS during construction of the Olkiluoto 3 NPP in Finland, which also features an EPR-type reactor. Further CMSS components for reactors of the EPR type were delivered to plants in Flamanville in France, and Taishan in China.

Merry Edakkolathur, Project Manager at plant owner EDF, explains: “Bilfinger delivered a convincing performance not only with comprehensive expertise and the highest quality standards in the engineering, manufacture and delivery of the core melt stabilisation system, but also with a maximum degree of flexibility and efficiency for prompt execution.”

Dr Thomas Schulz, Group CEO of Bilfinger, says: “We are extremely proud that we have been able to meet the demanding expectations of EDF in the work we have done on this safety-relevant component for an important major project for our long-standing customer.”

In parallel, Bilfinger is working on several piping construction projects for Hinkley Point C. EDF is also utilising Bilfinger's expertise when it comes to the execution design, manufacturing and assembly of highly complex piping systems and equipment for the nuclear steam and water supply systems as well as for special piping structures. Bilfinger will manufacture hundreds of kilometres of special corrosion-protected pipe spools with diameters ranging from 10 to 800mm and wall thicknesses from 2 to 60mm.

The pipe spools will be manufactured in Dortmund, Germany, and in a newly commissioned and specially certified workshop in Hull, UK. The total order volume for Bilfinger’s scope on Hinkley Point C amounts to more than €500m ($548m). In addition to its subsidiary Bilfinger Piping Technologies UK, other Group companies involved in the execution of the Hinkley Point C contracts include Bilfinger UK, Bilfinger Engineering & Technologies and Bilfinger Noell in Germany and Bilfinger Peters Engineering in France.

Image: CMSS during commissioning at Bilfinger Noell's production facility (courtesy of Bilfinger)

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