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Konecranes Boosts Bruce Power’s Nuclear Reactor Longevity with Advanced Equipment

Konecranes, a leader in material handling solutions, is significantly extending the service life of Bruce Power’s nuclear reactors in Ontario, Canada. This ambitious project involves the installation of four specialized cranes at the Bruce B nuclear generating station. The first crane is already in place, with preparations for the next installation scheduled to begin in January 2025.

The crane installation is part of a broader initiative aimed at potentially doubling the lifespan of Bruce Power’s nuclear reactors, adding up to 40 years of operational life. The new cranes, designed and installed by Konecranes, are crucial to this project, especially given the demanding environment and safety requirements of a nuclear facility.

One of the most challenging installations was the new reactivity deck crane at Bruce’s Unit 6 CANDU reactor. This complex task involved positioning staging beams over 30 meters high to create a platform for assembling the new crane. The installation took place above the reactor vault roof, which supports the reactivity mechanisms deck, making it a feat of expert rigging and lifting.

Nuclear plant safety requirements added another layer of complexity to the project. The installation plan required extensive documentation, about 100 times more than typical projects, underscoring the meticulous planning and expertise needed. Despite these challenges, the crane installation for Unit 6 was completed in 2023 without any safety incidents, reflecting the team’s high level of skill and preparation.

The new Unit 6 reactivity deck crane boasts several key enhancements:

  • A 75-ton main hoist single-failure-proof hoist trolley and a 5-ton auxiliary hoist trolley, both with variable frequency drive for better speed control.
  • Ergonomic operator features, including comfortable seating, joystick controllers, and energy-efficient lighting.
  • An expanded trolley design for easier maintenance.
  • Advanced safety features to protect workers.
  • A centralized lubrication system to streamline maintenance.

“This project has been unique from the start, and we appreciate Konecranes’ thorough professionalism. Their rigging and lifting expertise were critical to successfully replacing the crane and constructing a staging area at such height,” said Duncan Kennedy, Engineering Lead at Sargent & Lundy, overseeing project controls and asset management at Bruce Power.

Joseph Botros, Konecranes’ Regional Sales Manager for Nuclear Equipment and Services, added, “No two nuclear crane orders are the same, and this case is proof of that. We’re ready to continue our work with Bruce Power on the design and installation of the Unit 7 crane with the same commitment and safety.”

Preparations for Unit 7’s reactivity deck crane replacement are progressing well. Factory Acceptance Testing is complete, and client reviews are underway to ensure performance meets design specifications. The crane will be stored until shipment, with decommissioning and installation set to begin in January 2025, aiming to complete by spring to leverage cooler temperatures for crew safety.

Following Unit 7, the replacement of cranes for Units 5 and 8 is planned for Q1 of 2026 and 2027, respectively.

Konecranes continues to enhance material flows, decarbonize the economy, and promote safety and circularity.

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