25 April 2008

A Potain MD 3200 tower crane is the key lifting apparatus used for the reinforcement of a collapsing wall at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in the town of Pripyat, Ukraine. The special application crane is working on Nuclear Reactor Number 4 where a major accident happened 20 years ago. Two large beams have been supporting the roof of the building but are resting on the structurally unsound west wall of Reactor 4. The MD 3200 is lifting steel to reinforce the wall.

On-site contractor and owner of the MD 3200 is UTEM, based in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. The UTEM crane operators work 100 m from the reactor and operate the crane by remote control from an anti-radiation shelter. Cameras attached to the crane allow the operators to monitor all lifting operations, while feedback screens show the precise position of the load. The MD 3200 can travel to and from the power plant wall on a 15 m wide, 100 m long track.

Gerard Vezant, sales director for special application cranes at MCG, said, “To operate a tower crane of this size, from a remote location, and on such a sensitive project requires incredibly close control, both on the part of the operator and the crane. The planning on this job has been particularly involved, which is understandable given the location.”

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