Case study: A customised pump solution for Hinkley Point
A bespoke pumping system is proving key to the water management strategy for the major nuclear project in Somerset
Pump specialist Sykes Pumps is to install the latest pair of custom-modified pumps sold to EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C site in Somerset as part of the water management strategy implemented by Tier 1 contractor, Kier BAM Joint Venture.
The 430-acre site, which will be the first in a new generation of UK nuclear power stations, has been divided into six Water Management Zones (WMZ) during the construction phase to manage groundwater and rainfall as the build programme progresses, while ensuring that all water returned to natural water courses from site is cleaned to the highest environmental standards.
Sykes Pumps has been involved with the Hinkley Point C site for the past four years and has already hired a range of submersible, diesel and electric pumps for various elements of the development programme, including the sale of twelve custom-built electric surface mounted pumps for WMZ’s 1 – 6. The latest installation in the WMZ roll out is for WMZ 4, which will involve installation of two, 22kW pumps to work in conjunction with a silt separation process.
The pump units have been custom-built to include Sykes Pumps’ automatic self-priming capabilities to enable instant start up and priming on demand, along with sophisticated control systems that will ensure the required level of flow is pumped through the system, based on monitoring of groundwater conditions and rainfall. One of the specially-modified pumps at WMZ 4 will be used to pump water from the groundwater storage lagoons, where water from each WMZ is diverted from the deep dig excavations. It will then be pumped through a silt separation unit into a second lagoon for cleaned water. The other pump will take water from the cleaned water lagoon following water quality monitoring, and pump it back into the local water courses. Each WMZ pump system has been designed to adjust the flow rate aligned to groundwater and weather conditions so that the capacity in all lagoons can be maintained at optimum levels at all times.
Bob Lima of Sykes Pumps, who has been responsible for commissioning the pumps, explains: “Kier BAM provided us with a maximum flow rate for each WMZ, based on worst case scenario storm levels. The controls fitted mean that the pumps are only in use as much as they need to be to help manage the water on site while offering sufficient resilience to ensure flooding is avoided during any periods of severe weather.”
The maximum flow rate for WMZ 4 is 160 litres/second, which is less than that for WMZ 3 where the 320 litres/second maximum flow rate requirement resulted in the specification of two larger 55kW pumps. All pumps have been built with variable speed motors to ensure pump speeds can be tailored to suit real time site conditions.
Sykes Pumps has provided training for the Tier 1 team on site and also has a four-strong team of engineers permanently based at Hinkley Point C to carry out the planned servicing of the hire pumps every two weeks in addition to any reactive maintenance needed.
Peter Pearson of Kier BAM says: “The pumps provided for the WMZs are just one of the solutions that Sykes Pumps has delivered for the complex requirements of this large, coastal site.
“Sykes Pumps was able to design a flexible solution around the specific demands of our water management strategy, delivering an installation that addresses both the need to control groundwater and the imperative for limiting unnecessary energy consumption whilst ensuring we uphold the highest environmental standards.”
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