Wellman completes a giant of a task

There can’t be many more daunting or perilous assignments than cleaning up a redundant nuclear power plant.

It requires hiring responsible contractors with specialist skills, trust, and 100 per cent reliability.

That’s why Sellafield Ltd, the company responsible for safely delivering decommissioning of the UK’s nuclear legacy, called in Wellman Booth.

Wellman installed a mammoth Semi Goliath crane in the Cumbrian plant to help in the operation to retrieve waste from the 60-year-old nuclear waste storage silo.

The 20-metre high crane is an integral part of a new Waste Retrieval Facility being built alongside the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo. It is being used to lift substantial nuclear waste packages onto road transporters.

The silo was built in 1951 to store radioactive fuel cladding from the military Windscale Piles and later from Calder Hall and Chapelcross reactors. It’s effectively a giant concrete safe that has reached the end of its life.

Sellafield’s Neil Crewdson, Head of the Project, reported “The Semi Goliath arrived in 12 separate lorry loads and was erected over two weeks in an extremely tight space. The team had to carry out the delicate job with surgical precision to ensure the safety of the legacy waste silo and its radioactive contents.”

The Goliath is 17-metres wide, weighs 109 tonnes, and has a 63-tonne safe-working load capacity, with a design life of 20 years.

The project is a triumph of engineering for several Langley companies who were involved in the design, manufacture, trials and assembly. The multi-million pound project took around two years.

Kevin Finnemore, Director and Business Manager of Wellman Booth, paid tribute to the professionalism and creativity of his staff, who he says resolved significant technical challenges during the contract.

“We started with a blank sheet of paper. Our team in Leeds designed the Crane and the build was carried out at our manufacturing facility at Gateshead. Our sister company PEI also supplied the fabrication.

The team had to endure appalling weather conditions both during the winter trials in Gateshead and the assembly at Sellafield, including gales, rain and snow but still delivered on time and on budget ‘’

To view the Semi Goliath Crane Construction click here

63Te Semi- Goliath Crane – Sellafield Ltd PFCS (Pile Fuel Cladding Silo) Project


Wellman Booth specialises in providing high integrity overhead cranes and specialist handling systems for Nuclear, Steel, Waste, and Offshore industries. General Engineering Design, Project Management and Engineering Consultancy

It is a division of the Clarke Chapman Group Ltd, a multi-disciplined engineering company comprising of a number of established renowned mechanical handling businesses, providing design and manufacturing solutions to clients worldwide.

The Clarke Chapman Group Ltd is a Langley Holdings plc company. (www.clarkechapman.co.uk).


Langley Holdings PLC (www.langleyholdings.com) is a diverse, privately owned, global engineering group, based in the UK with principal operating divisions located in Germany, France, USA and the UK and a network of worldwide subsidiaries. The group employs around 4000 people in 40 countries.

Langley is a profitable, debt free and highly transparent organisation which publishes full financial reports on its website. The group was founded in 1975 and despite adopting the articles of a public limited company since 1993, is still owned outright by its founder and current chairman, Mr Tony Langley.

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