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Post-certification of a load traverse at the Gundremmingen nuclear power plant

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Load handling attachments in use in nuclear power plants

Post-certification of a crossbeam from Carl Stahl

Nuclear power plants, also known as atomic power stations, are used to generate electrical energy from nuclear power through controlled nuclear fission. They therefore have some of the highest safety standards. This begins with the handling of the fuel rods, protection against attacks of all kinds, the training of the personnel trained there, the access authorizations and the operating equipment. A failure or malfunction of the operating equipment in this environment can have fatal consequences. For this reason, special attention is understandably paid to the correct and safe use of these facilities. As in conventional production facilities within a value chain, loads also have to be lifted and transported in nuclear power plants. For this reason, classic Load handling attachments, such as Load beams, in use. Ideally, these load handling attachments have been designed, built, commissioned and regularly tested by certified companies.

Post-certification of load handling attachments in accordance with DIN EN 13155

Post-certification of a crossbeam from Carl Stahl
Load beams belong to the group of loose load handling attachments. For their manufacture, the standard DIN EN 13155 authoritative. The operator of load handling attachments is, according to DGUV Rule 109-017 obliged to review these annually. Lifting accessories are robust welded constructions. Properly designed and manufactured, properly handled and inspected and revised annually, they can achieve the number of 16,000 load cycles specified in DIN EN 13155. The lifting accessory may also be approved for a higher number of load cycles if special requirements are met. Lifting accessories that were built and put into operation before the introduction of the EN Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC are often still in use. However, it is then necessary to check whether this equipment is still suitable or operational according to the current state of the art. And if so, whether they can be recertified and issued with a certificate of conformity to the Machinery Directive.

Post-certification process for a load traverse at the Gundremmingen nuclear power plant

For the certification of the load lifting beam as part of an extensive service contract, the operator, in this case the Gundremmingen nuclear power plant, provided Carl Stahl Hebetechnik with all the documents still available on the design and manufacture at the time. The documents were thoroughly checked by the ‘Load Lifting Equipment’ department in Süßen and found to be in order for recertification. The load lifting beam was then redesigned as a 3D model in Inventor and all the necessary documentation was created. The basis for the creation of a risk assessment was a site inspection at the Gundremmingen nuclear power plant. Following this, the customer was provided with complete documentation of the load spreader beam as part of a preliminary technical meeting:

  • Testing the strength verifications
  • Test certificates
  • Test certificates
  • Execution drawings with details
  • Risk assessment accompanying the design
  • Operating instructions
  • Declarations of conformity
  • Test drawings

FAQ: Post-certification of load handling attachments

Who is eligible for the recertification of lifting accessories?

In principle, recertification of load handling attachments is worthwhile for all customers who require recertification in accordance with the Machinery Directive. This must be checked on a case-by-case basis.

Why can a recertification of lifting accessories be worthwhile?

In the case of the load traverse at the Gundremmingen nuclear power plant, recertification meant that the purchase of a new load traverse could be avoided. In this case, the costs for recertification were around 20% of the new price compared to the purchase of a comparable crossbeam. This also improves the sustainability balance on both sides.