Case Study: Nuclear Power Plant Scaffolding Project

Posted on May 2, 2022 in Case Studies, News

Nuclear power plants are required to routinely undergo rigorous monitoring, inspecting, and maintenance procedures to help ensure their safe operation. In the Spring of 2020, Scaffolding Solutions was hired to provide safe access to the outside of the curved structure of a nuclear plant located in rural South Carolina.

“Scaffolding Solutions did a great job on the nuclear shutdown. They designed and installed a custom suspended access bracket to meet our client’s stringent needs. The crew was professional, safety-conscious, and hit our demanding schedule. I hope to pair up with Scaffolding Solutions in the future” 

– Jamie Parker, Project Manager

Read on to learn how the Scaffolding Solutions team managed an extremely tight schedule and high-security environment while engineering a safe solution for the containment vessel’s curved wall.

A Circular Challenge

The curved containment vessel (CV) at the power plant houses the reactor’s core, which had to be shut down before work could begin. The team of workers needed to access four outdoor locations suspended off of a lip that was only 4 ft wide—and had a 140-foot drop. 

The nuclear power plant takes safety very seriously— so this meant that workers had to wear radiation badges, carry dosimeters, and get temperature checks due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. Workers were also required to only use specific, pre-approved wrenches and lifelines.

Stringent background checks were also needed due to the sensitive nature of the area. Workers would have an armed guard escort from the minute they stepped onto the property to the minute they left.

After an extensive screening process, Scaffolding Solutions was hired to provide the scaffolding set up and take down to help the power plant stay within its strict project time frame.

A Highly Customized Solution

Due to the shutdown of the nuclear reactor, everything had to go according to a rigid timeline. In addition to the security and safety challenges, the crew and vendors of Scaffolding Solutions had to be on their A-game—if one thing went wrong, they would have immediately lost the job. 

There were multiple pre-meetings discussing every nut and bolt that would be used—literally. Everything needed to be calculated, checked, and re-checked. Due to the rigorous safety culture, the power plant team had to verify everything—right down to the workers’ gloves. 

The project engineers did not want to drill into CV, so the Scaffolding Solutions team had to develop a specific anchor system. They wound up fabricating three custom beams and brackets that anchor into the CV to hold the beam and suspend the platform for the swing stage. A Bisomac 308 motor would take care of the heavy lifting.

The timeframe was tight—they had 45 days of preplanning and less than a month to install four custom suspended access platforms and safely dismantle the equipment.

The Results

The swing stage scaffolding set up, take down, and CV maintenance project went off without a hitch. The The swing stage scaffolding set up, take down, and CV maintenance project went off without a hitch. The team at Scaffolding Solutions met the strict time frame, safety, and engineering expectations. The power plant and engineering teams were thrilled with the professional service and top-notch scaffolding work that Scaffolding Solutions performed.

“I was very proud to work on this project with Duke and Day and Zimmerman. It was really challenging, but we hit every single safety mark that they set forth for us. We learned a lot working with their team, planning every procedure, and going through the strict vetting process. I was thrilled with the safe and successful outcome.”

-Brian Lish, Carolina Business Development Manager

Scaffolding for Challenging Access Problems

Do you have an upcoming or current project that requires scaffolding? At Scaffolding Solutions, our decades of experience have allowed us to tackle some of the most challenging scaffolding jobs. Contact us below to learn more about how we can help.

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