Sarens Executes Complex Engineered Lifting Operation at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant
For more than 40 years, Sarens has met the challenges of the nuclear industry with an unwavering commitment to safety, quality, and the environment.
April 2024

Sarens is a trusted service provider within the nuclear sector and is regularly awarded opportunities like the recent project for Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Alabama, USA. 

Our client, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), selected Sarens for this pivotal project thanks to our decades-long expertise in engineered lifting and rigging solutions. In fact, nuclear power plant owners, operators, and service providers regularly turn to Sarens for complex, mission-critical projects like these. For more than 40 years, Sarens has met the challenges of the nuclear industry with an unwavering commitment to safety, quality, and the environment. 

The TVA Browns Ferry Nuclear Project 

Sarens began working with TVA in late 2023 on the replacement of three low pressure feedwater heaters, each weighing nearly 98,600 pounds and measuring 50 feet long. This work as well as other scheduled maintenance outage activities will ensure that the plant can continue to produce reliable, carbon-free energy to the seven-state region it serves. 

Under the leadership and direction of Sarens Engineering Manager Deepak Gupta and Project Manager (PM) Mike Lofts, the team designed the custom Temporary Lifting Device (TLD) which was used together with a tailing cart and hydraulic lift unit (HLU). This custom solution was devised to accommodate limited headroom and provide maximum lift height so that the feedwater heaters could safely clear the surrounding steam pipes. Several obstructions and clearances had to be safely navigated within the turbine building, including the steam pipes, railings, and platforms. 

Sarens used the existing 210-ton capacity turbine-building overhead bridge crane, to hoist the TLD that would then lift the loads. Installing the TLD on the turbine-building overhead crane bridge with the Sarens HLU was a challenge as the entire vertical lift needed to be extremely stable. It took the team one day to set up the equipment necessary for the operation. 

Once the equipment was ready, time was of the essence because all lifts had to be performed within the plant’s outage window. 

The crew needed to pick and down-end three old feedwater heaters, and then upend, pick, and install three new heaters. The lifts proceeded with TLD motion on the overhead crane bridge, and then bridge motion. Sarens field crew members Superintendents Dustin Estep, Mike Barcinas, and Justin Russow; Field Engineer-Patrick Quagleri; and PM Mike Lofts worked around the clock to complete the project, on-time, within budget, and with zero injuries. 

Sarens’ Nuclear Expertise Around the Globe 

Our success with this project reflects decades of deep experience in the nuclear sector. We first entered the market in the 1970s and by the 2020s had launched the world’s largest crane, the SGC-250, at the Hinkley Point C nuclear station in the UK. That same year, we also began groundbreaking work in the US, supporting the first small modular reactor (SMR) to receive design approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 

Sarens is an ISO-certified organization with a team of engineers and operational staff well-acquainted with the unique challenges inherent to a nuclear environment. We provide the following services to the nuclear sector: 

Engineered rigging and transport solutions for complex, mission-critical projects. Our team of more than 150 highly-qualified engineers work at locations across the globe, designing innovative, cost-effective solutions known for their focus on safety and quality. Our engineering capabilities include heavy lifting, rigging, and transportation expertise; crane placement optimization; replacement of heavy nuclear components; lifting and installation via overhead cranes and polar cranes; and more. 

Custom-designed, standalone rigging and lifting equipment. We have decades of experience designing temporary overhead crane lift systems, Temporary Lift Devices (TLDs) and custom jacking trolleys, using them to execute projects that involve lifting critical components under tight spatial constraints. 

Critical component replacements. We are the preferred provider of engineered rigging and specialized transport services at nuclear power stations around the globe. From steam generator replacements to reactor vessel head replacements and more, Sarens has a successful track record that spans several decades. We are also highly experienced in decommissioning and disposal and follow strict ALARA safety protocols to minimize risk. 

Interested in how we can help your project proceed safely and successfully? We invite you to contact our expert team to find out why Sarens is a trusted partner on nuclear projects around the globe.