Every year the European Association of Abnormal Road Transport and Mobile Cranes (ESTA) organizes a competition to honor outstanding projects. Mammoet, global leader in engineered heavy lifting and transport, is proud to have won the 2014 ESTA Innovation (Manufacturer) award for the special skidding system used at Chernobyl. At a ceremony on 24 April in Amsterdam, Kees de Rijk, Mammoet’s Commercial Director, Europe Region, received the award from Soren Jansen, ESTA’s Director. Mr De Rijk commented: “I am glad that the jury recognized the technical complexity of this job and the jacking and skidding systems used.”
After the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine in 1986 a concrete sarcophagus was built over the reactor. As this is deteriorating the Novarka consortium is building the New Safe Confinement (NSC), an arch structure which will be placed over the reactor to provide a controlled, weatherproof environment for dismantling. The completed structure will be approximately 110 meters high and 165 meters long, with a span of 260 meters and a weight exceeding 35,000 tons. It is being assembled in a decontaminated area away from the reactor. During the construction Mammoet lifts the structure up in stages and in future the company will skid it across to the reactor.
The NSC arch is being built in two sections, with three phases for each section. After each phase the newly added arch elements are lifted and secured by 56 strand jacks.
Mammoet also developed and built a dedicated, fully remotely-controlled skidding system to position the arch sections. The system has 116 skid shoes with a capacity of 703 tons each. The two skid tracks on each side are installed at an angle of approx. 45°. This optimizes the transfer of the huge load to the foundations. The skidding system is synchronized to avoid stressing the structure of the NSC. The company designed customized skid shoes for this project, which can lift, shift and move the load.
Mammoet entered the skidding system for the ESTA Innovation (Manufacturer) Award because it has some unique features:
- Unique skidding tracks installed at an angle of approx. 45°
- Sophisticated skid shoes
- Unique scale
- Operation in a hostile environment with full remote control and monitoring, and weather-proofing.
This animation gives a good impression of the scale and operation of the system.