Barnhart Crane and Rigging Removes Nuclear RPV in Maine

Dec 13, 2002

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.)—Barnhart Crane and Rigging Company recently supervised the removal of the Reactor Pressure Vessel during the decommissioning of the only nuclear facility in Maine, the state’s largest generator of electricity for 25 years.

“The sensitive nature of this project required expertise in the safe-handling of nuclear power equipment. Barnhart was retained for the purpose of removing the RPV based upon their rigging expertise and the proficiency of the Barnhart management in nuclear site decommissioning,” said the nuclear plant project manager.

Contracted in 1999 during the initial stages of the RPV Removal Project, Barnhart Crane and Rigging performed all onsite lifting and handling for the RPV dismantling at Maine’s only nuclear power plant. Additional projects included the expert rigging and safe handling of the steam generators and pressurizer, as well as a successful 800-ton load test of the strand jack system in preparation for the RPV removal.

The 598-ton RPV lift, insertion into the shipping container and placement on a temporary skid before its permanent removal from the site, was done by Barnhart’s 900-ton lift system. The initial move took six hours and involved ironworkers, operating engineers, and plant engineering, safety and construction staff. When the 917-ton RPV package arrives at the burial site in Barnwell, South Carolina, it will be the largest ever received by that nuclear disposal facility.

The nuclear plant's goal of decommissioning the facility and restoring the area for future use of the local communitywas furthered by Barnhart’s efforts. The safe handling and removal of the RPV and surrounding facility on the 30-year old site is being done in accordance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) guidelines.

Steve Love, Branch Manager, Barnhart Crane and Rigging, said, “The effort to restore the site requires that every stage of the removal of contaminated materials be done carefully and in a controlled manner, with cautious deliberation. We are proud that Barnhart has successfully extracted this contaminated component, significantly contributing to the completion of the remediation phase of the decommissioning.”

Barnhart Crane and Rigging, established in 1969, is a leading national supplier of specialized heavy rigging and transportation solutions. The company, now with 13 locations across the United States, also provides crane services, machinery moving, and plant relocations, as well as project cargo logistics and heavy equipment storage at its 100-acre, 700,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Memphis, Tenn. Barnhart Crane and Rigging, an ISO 9001 certified supplier, also operates terminal facilities at the Port of Memphis, Decatur, Ala., and the deepwater Port of Mobile, Ala. For more information, visit

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