Rope access helps battle raging seas at Wylfa


Rope access was used by a team from Hertel UK to inspect the condition of the steelwork on a pipeline jetty used to take in sea water to cool the reactors at the Magnox Wylfa Site on Anglesey.

Hertel was tasked to record, document and photograph the thickness of the jetty’s steelwork and to assess and identify any damage which may have been caused by sea water.

Hertel provides a range of maintenance services at Wylfa including access, corrosion protection, insulation and asbestos management. It also carries out special projects and supports planned maintenance shutdowns when its core team of 60 can grow to more than 100.

Inspection of the jetty, which was built in the early 1960s, took place during the recent maintenance shut down at Wylfa. Work on the jetty was also restricted by inclement weather and rough seas. Despite these challenges the project was completed three weeks ahead of schedule.

Ian Fraser, Hertel’s Site Operations Manager at Wylfa, says: “We were not able to make any direct connection to the jetty and rope access was the only way we could carry out the inspection. The weather also dictated when we could work.”

In suitable weather windows, a boat would be launched and positioned under the jetty so it could respond in the unlikely event that anyone fell into the sea during the inspection. 

“It was vital we were well co-ordinated and that all safety issues were covered. As there were restrictions on the times we could inspect, the men would be assigned to other work during down times such as cleaning vessels and pipework or replacing wind damaged cladding on the side of the reactors. It was particularly pleasing that despite these hurdles the work was completed three weeks ahead of schedule,” added Ian.

Hertel employs more than 2,500 and specialises in working at oil refineries, chemical plants, power stations and nuclear facilities.

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