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Big Carl takes the strain: World’s largest crane lifts steel ring into place at Hinkley Point C

These impressive pictures capture the moment the world’s largest crane lifts a massive steel ring at the site of a new nuclear power station in the UK.

Nicknamed ‘Big Carl’, the massive machine, which stands at a mighty 820ft tall, lifted the giant metal structure into position at Hinckley Point C in Somerset.

It is the second of three prefabricated steel rings to form the reinforced cylinder around the new nuclear reactor at the new £23billion power station.

Along with the rings, Belgian-owned Big Carl will lift more than 500 prefabricated steel and concrete elements weighing up to 1,600 tonnes as part of the build.

Owned and operated by Brussels-based crane company Sarens, ‘Big Carl’ can carry 5,000 tonnes in a single lift.  

These impressive pictures capture the moment the world's largest crane lifts a massive steel ring at a UK power station

These impressive pictures capture the moment the world's largest crane lifts a massive steel ring at a UK power station

These impressive pictures capture the moment the world’s largest crane lifts a massive steel ring at a UK power station

Nicknamed 'Big Carl', the massive machine, which stands at 820ft tall, lifted the giant metal structure into position at Hinckley Point C

Nicknamed 'Big Carl', the massive machine, which stands at 820ft tall, lifted the giant metal structure into position at Hinckley Point C

Nicknamed ‘Big Carl’, the massive machine, which stands at 820ft tall, lifted the giant metal structure into position at Hinckley Point C

Big Carl: In facts and figures 

Height: 850ft tall

Weight: Around 10,000 tonnes

Reach of: 900ft

Capable of lifting: 5,000 tonnes 

Supported by: 52 counterweight containers weighing 100 tonnes each 

Powered by: 12 engines

Owned by: Belgian crane company Sarens 

How did it get here: Transported from Belgium on over 250 trucks 

What’s its real name: SGC-250 – which stands for ‘Sarens Giant Crane 250’

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Last night Big Carl lifted the second ring into the new power station.

The 55ft tall ring, with a diameter of 154ft, was built 36 per cent faster than the first ring.

Teams were able to speed up production using the experience gained during the construction of the first ring. 

The prefabricated steel ring was lifted out of a bunker where it was constructed in factory conditions – one of the innovations to improve quality on the project.

Prefabrication inside these bunkers reduces the need to work at height or in bad weather and the work can be completed and checked in a controlled setting. 

Stuart Crooks, Hinkley Point C Managing Director, said: ‘Our belief that we can do things better drives innovation at Hinkley Point C. 

‘As we build the first UK European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) we are learning and improving all the time.

‘This is leading to improved productivity as we build Hinkley Point C’s twin reactors. 

‘We will use that experience to underpin our plans for two more identical reactors at Sizewell C.’

The project to build the 3,200 megawatt electrical (MWe) nuclear power station is expected to be completed by 2025 and is predicted to cost more than £23billion.

It is the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK in more than 20 years.

The ring is the second of three prefabricated steel rings to form the reinforced cylinder around the new nuclear reactor at the new £23billion power station

The ring is the second of three prefabricated steel rings to form the reinforced cylinder around the new nuclear reactor at the new £23billion power station

The ring is the second of three prefabricated steel rings to form the reinforced cylinder around the new nuclear reactor at the new £23billion power station

The 55ft tall ring, with a diameter of 154ft was built 36 per cent faster than the first ring. Teams were able to speed up production using the experience gained during the construction of the first ring

The 55ft tall ring, with a diameter of 154ft was built 36 per cent faster than the first ring. Teams were able to speed up production using the experience gained during the construction of the first ring

The 55ft tall ring, with a diameter of 154ft was built 36 per cent faster than the first ring. Teams were able to speed up production using the experience gained during the construction of the first ring

The project to build the 3,200 megawatt electrical (MWe) nuclear power station is expected to be completed by 2025 and is predicted to cost more than £23billion. It is the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK in more than 20 years

The project to build the 3,200 megawatt electrical (MWe) nuclear power station is expected to be completed by 2025 and is predicted to cost more than £23billion. It is the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK in more than 20 years

The project to build the 3,200 megawatt electrical (MWe) nuclear power station is expected to be completed by 2025 and is predicted to cost more than £23billion. It is the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK in more than 20 years

The plant, owned by EDF energy, will feature two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs). It will produce enough energy to power six million homes.  

The power station was one of eight nuclear sites announced by the government in 2010. In November 2012 a nuclear site licence was granted to go ahead with the project and EDF later approved the scheme.

Hinkley Point is already home to Hinkley Point A – a nuclear power plant which was decommissioned in 2000 – and Hinkley Point B – which is expected to be decommissioned next year.

In total, the UK currently has 15 operational nuclear reactors at seven locations across the UK, including at Dungeness in Kent and Sizewell in Suffolk.

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