Bradwell Nuclear Power Station - FED Retrieval Crane

The decommissioning of a nuclear power station involves numerous processes to extract, package and store radioactive waste materials. At the Bradwell Magnox station, the FED (Fuel Element Debris) waste was identified as a radiological risk and needed to be safely collected and stored.

SCX Special Projects was contracted to design, engineer, build and install a semi-automatic FED Retrieval solution that would perform multiple waste-handling tasks at the Bradwell site.

The Challenge

As part of the decommissioning of Bradwell Nuclear Power Station, a specialist crane solution was required for extraction, handling, and deposit of FED (Fuel Element Debris).

This included the removal and transport of waste-containing drums, loading of the dissolution vessel, and removal of intermediate level waste (ILW) from the vessel for export. In addition, the crane should serve multiple additional remote handling operations throughout the facility.

The Solution

SCX Special Projects designed and manufactured a semi-automatic crane with a safe working load (SWL) of 5t, which is protected by our unique MotoSuiveur load arrest device.

Alongside manual control, the operator can use nineteen pre-determined automatic pathways for the accurate coupling of the crane with each of the various load types, maintaining a high level of safety while ensuring ease of use.

Mechanical modifications

  • The modified standard hook block features a pintle adaptor, enabling the crane to couple with and lift the drum grab, baskets, and trays
  • Bullet systems provide independent recovery on cross-travel and long-travel motions
  • 4m/min long-travel speed; 2m/min cross-travel and hoisting speed; plus 0.2m/min manual speed for fine control


Semi-automatic control

  • A SCADA system is connected to the crane’s PLC over a dedicated communications network, supported by safety interlocks and a hardwired Engineered Protection System
  • An on-screen menu provides simple selection of required crane sequences
  • Manual control is used to guide the hook block and pintle to loads that arrive out of position


Load arrest and recovery

  • Our MotoSuiveur load arrest device is mounted directly to the drum, providing independent failsafe protection against overload, overspeed and load drop
  • The MotoSuiveur unit incorporates its own independent hoist recovery drive
  • A rotary encoder and switch mounted on the unit provides continual feedback on the position of the hoist


Let's talk more about bespoke nuclear waste handling

The nuclear sector demands levels of functionality, safety, integrity, traceability and documentation that is rarely (if ever) found in commercial-off-the-shelf equipment.

We have decades of experience in engineering systems that perform complex, hazardous waste handling procedures - and importantly, they do it safely. Talk to us today.

Call us on +44 114 262 6199, email us at, or complete the contact form below and we'll be in touch.

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199