Case Studies

Hinkley Point C

Client:

Bouygues / EDF

Location:

Hinkley Point C Site, Bridgewater

Sector:

Nuclear

Services:

Lightning Study

Planned

Consented

In Construction

Operational

Project Overview

Utility and power generation companies are starting to recognise the unintended hazards that can be created when a facility is struck by lightning, even when fully compliant lightning protection measures are present.

This is because a lightning strike attachment has a massive high-frequency impulse characteristic, meaning that the majority of lightning current energy is discharged within a fraction of a second. The resulting rise of local earth potentials is, therefore, extreme and can be difficult to fully mitigate against.

Until recently, understanding if you had a problem with touch voltages during a strike event was limited to the domain of the research scientist. However, advances in the availability of electromagnetic software tools mean that these previously out-of-reach questions are now within the realm of the specialist consultant like GreyMatters.

Details

What part did GreyMatters Play?

As part of nuclear Power Generator EDF’s rigorous due diligence design process, GreyMatters were asked to provide a technical examination of the hazard posed to staff in the event of a lightning strike attachment to their building.

Knowing these buildings were fully design-compliant with BS EN 62305 for lightning protection, they were studied in the virtual environment using the top 1% electromagnetic software tools, with the goal of understanding if and where a hazard existed.

Using these tools, lightning energy could be represented visually and as coursing through the structure and surfaces, which allowed for clear identification of the areas of most concern.

Conclusion

GreyMatters’ involvement in the lightning study for EDF’s nuclear facility exemplifies the critical role of advanced electromagnetic software in enhancing safety beyond standard compliance measures. Despite the facility’s adherence to BS EN 62305 for lightning protection, the high-frequency impulse characteristics of lightning strikes can cause significant rises in local earth potentials, posing a potential hazard to staff. Through the application of top-tier electromagnetic simulation tools, GreyMatters was able to model and visualize the distribution of lightning energy across the structure. This innovative approach enabled the identification of specific areas at risk, thus providing EDF with actionable insights to mitigate potential touch voltage hazards effectively. The study underscores the importance of integrating cutting-edge technology in safety assessments for high-stakes environments like nuclear facilities. By bridging the gap between compliance and actual safety performance, GreyMatters has demonstrated that thorough technical examinations using advanced tools are essential for identifying and addressing latent risks, ensuring the well-being of personnel and the integrity of the facility.

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