February 11 - Whiting Corporation has coordinated the installation of a 250-tonne capacity bridge crane at a nuclear power plant in Michigan, USA.

The bridge crane was installed and commissioned while the 2.2 GW power station was fully operational - saving approximately USD18 million in maintenance outage and associated costs.

The Whiting team constructed an entire hydraulic heavy lifting and rotation test structure in preparation for the installation, which was used to safely lift and rotate components for the bridge crane. Two 26.6 m girders were lifted 18.28 m above the turbine floor and placed between two operating units. A total of 290 lifts were safely executed during installation - 86 that were classified as high-risk by Whiting.

The innovative installation technique had never been used in this situation, claimed Whiting. In preparation a full-scale mock-up of the jobsite mimicking actual lifting conditions was prepared off site; the telescopic gantry system and turntable was tested to 125 percent of its maximum load bearing capacity.

"We learned from the mock-up that the system was rock solid even in 15-20 mph winds (approximately 32 kph). Fine control of the power towers easily kept the lift level, while the rotation motion was exceptionally smooth," said Dave Weber, director of nuclear services for Whiting.