Concrete nuclear containment structures are critical components of a nuclear plant that insure the air tightness of the structure in the event of a major leakage of coolant and thus stops the dissipation of contaminated particles into the atmosphere. The design, construction and maintenance of such structures require the expertise of a specialist who can guarantee their stability and safety. VSL offers a diverse range of solutions meeting this requirement, and which can be combined to create bespoke packages or applied as standalone services.

Ground improvement

Prior to the construction of nuclear power plants, it is often necessary to perform specialist ground improvement works at the site, with a view to improving the ground’s shear strength, stiffness, and permeability and reducing the risk of liquefaction in areas of potential seismic activity.

Deep foundations

Nuclear power plant projects involve the construction of various complex structures and deep basements. The need to undertake extensive excavations and transfer heavy loads into the ground requires the know-how and expertise of specialists in deep foundations.

Cut-off walls

Acting as a containing structure, these concrete walls built beneath the surface help preventing from any water movement in the ground to improve ground stability. They also prevent from any ground contamination by containing liquid pollutants.

Horizontal directional drilling

In environmentally sensitive areas, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is a technique of choice to install a wide range of underground networks such as water, electricity, optical fiber, and more.

VSoL®

The construction of nuclear facilities often requires temporary support for heavy loads and the construction of working platforms on congested sites. This is where there is an important role for walls that are designed to retain earth. There is also the option to leave retained-earth walls in place, where they can serve as a long-term risk mitigation and protection measure against natural disasters or industrial hazards.

Post tensioning

VSL Technologies

Nuclear containments, in particular those for pressurized water reactors, are designed to withstand high internal pressures to prevent a ‘loss of coolant accident’ (LOCA) from happening. Post-tensioning helps provide structural integrity to the containment vessel, and ensures that it is leak-tight.

Heavy lifting

VSL Technologies

Heavy lifting can be used to overcome constraints inherent in the construction of nuclear containment structures when:

  • the element’s weight is too high for standard construction methods,
  • complicated access requires an alternative construction scheme,
  • construction schedules are tight.
Seismic protection and vibration control

VSL Technologies

When the nuclear plant’s location is exposed to these risks, it is crucial to consider seismic threats right from the design phase in order to protect the asset from structural damage and, of course, safeguard the population. Dampers are very effective in mitigating vibrations, and enhancing the stability, durability and safety of the structure.

Monitoring

Regular monitoring and inspections must be carefully planned and carried out right from the start of the construction phase of a nuclear containment structure. This ensures the durability of the post-tensioning and therefore helps mitigate the risk of a ‘loss of coolant accident’ (LOCA).

As soon as your containment structure is built, it is entering a long-term life cycle with evolving needs and continuous preservation, repairs and upgrading obligations.

Discover how to preserve your asset