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Nuclear Plant Upgrade Project Wins Barnhart SC&RA Rigging Job of the Year

The team at Barnhart Crane and Rigging is always up for a challenge.  But when we were contacted about a nuclear plant in Two Rivers, WI, we knew we had our work cut out for us.  That work has won the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association’s (SC&RA) Rigging Job of the Year for a project over $750,000.

The Point Beach Nuclear Station needed to remove and replace four feedwater heaters, a condensate cooler and two main feed pump/motor skids inside the condenser shells of both units of the power station. Barnhart’s scope of work was to provide design fabrication and field engineering, project management, field supervision, operators, equipment and rigging for the removal and replacement of the components in two units.

The challenge was that in many places the lightweight grating and floor beams would not support the weight of the 124,000 pound feedwater heaters, plus there were height restrictions and those turned out not to be the only obstacles. Contractual limitations, a crunched planning schedule, and weather limitations, including blizzard conditions, contributed to the eventual hurdles Barnhart faced.

To remove and replace the four 42-foot long, six foot in diameter feedwater heaters, they had to be maneuvered through a difficult travel path, sliding through the facility on a tedious obstacle course that involved raising, lowering and rotating.  Barnhart cut doors into the side of the building in order to pass the heaters in and out using their signature Tri-Block rigging system and a 500-ton capacity all-terrain crane. They were transported on Barnhart’s Goldhofer SPMT systems.

Barnhart had to design several new tools to complete the project, among them a sliding gantry and track system, a crossing gantry track system and a gantry saddle system for holding the new heaters in place during lifting and installation.  Rigging innovations included the use of air skates, jacking and traditional sliding, sliding gantry and sliding heater links

The job involved 22,300 Barnhart man hours plus 30,000 more Bechtel craftsmen under Barnhart’s supervision.  Safety is an obvious concern when working in a nuclear environment, and there were no first aids, no accidents or recordables and no lost time accidents on the project.