The polar crane for unit 1 of the Hinkley Point C NPP under construction in the UK has been lifted into place by Big Carl, the world's largest land-based crane. This 750-tonne crane will rotate 360° at the top of the building and will be used to install heavy equipment during construction, such as the reactor and steam generators. It’ll also be used when the power station is operational for refuelling and maintenance.

The polar crane is one of the final pieces of equipment to be installed in the reactor building before the dome is lifted into place to close the roof. EDF Energy, which is building the plant, said the team spent months assembling the crane on site. Teams will now focus on installing the dome.

Hinkley Point C, when complete, will comprise two 1,630 MWe EPR reactors supplied by EDF. Construction began in December 2018 but the project has faced delay challenges. In May 2022 EDF, following a review of the project, confirmed that the plant would begin operating a year later than planned and could cost up to £3bn ($3.7bn) more to build than originally budgeted. This put the start date for unit 1 at June 2027, with the cost estimated at £25-26bn, an increase on the previous estimate of £23bn.

Image: The crane will be used to install heavy equipment during construction (courtesy of EDF)