EDF Energy

Read on to see how we helped EDF Energy erect 13 emergency storage shelters on 13 of their sites across France in light of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Fukushima nuclear disaster


At 2:46pm on Friday 11th March 2011, the east coast of Japan was hit by a monumental magnitude 9.0 earthquake and 15-meter tsunami, which caused considerable damage to the region.

Although most facilities in the area were successfully shut down by their automatic response systems, there were severe consequences for the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, located in the town of Ōkuma. The chain of events led it to suffer a nuclear meltdown, radiation leaks, a series of explosions and permanent damage to several of the plant’s nuclear reactors, leaving them impossible to restart. Over 11,000 people were evacuated from the town of Ōkuma; an area which, due to the widespread devastation and remnants of radioactive waste, remains difficult to return to even today.

In the months that followed, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) conducted a review of all UK nuclear power plants to identify any lessons to be learned from the events in Japan. Similarly, the EU called for a series of stress tests across all nuclear operations within its member countries.

Having undergone the above, no fundamental weaknesses were found in the case of EDF energy and its existing fleet. However, in a bid to increase their nuclear safety, the UK energy provider purchased extensive volumes of back-up and emergency equipment, such as pumps and generators. All of which were to be housed, by request from the French nuclear safety authorities, in temporary emergency shelters, while a more permanent storage solution was established.

Fabric clad temporary storage sheter


EDF approached Omega Structures in January 2013 with a proposal to erect 13 Temporary Storage Shelters on 13 of their sites across France. Each was to be built to the following specification: 10 metre width x 20 metre length x 3.5 metre side height.Though Temporary Buildings their lifespan is to be at least seven years as the target is to have the permanent shelters in place for 2020.

After the events in Fukushima, and as most of the shelters were to be built within coastal and/or high wind areas, it was crucial to ensure each of the shelters would be able to withstand extreme weather conditions. It was also decided that all structures would be manufactured using fabric cladding, such as the example in the image right, as opposed to the more popular steel cladding. This was to eliminate any potential risks should any of the parts come loose during a storm.

All new temporary structures were to be erected either on top of existing or specifically laid tarmac bases, concrete slabs or poured concrete plinths. Where erected on concrete frames, the structures would be bolted to the ground, and where erected on tarmac bases, the frames would be staked to the ground. As a result, ground testing was compulsory to ensure the undersoil would be resistant enough.

With a proposed completion date of June 2013, we had a very tight schedule to work to, putting the team under pressure from the very start. We visited the EDF headquarters soon after initial contact to confirm and validate the specification, and each of the 13 sites was surveyed.

The official order from EDF was confirmed in late April, leaving only a couple of months to produce calculation notes and drawings for validation by EDF, manufacture and ship the structures, get all installation crew members accredited on each site, complete administrative and HSE procedures, and finally install the buildings.

The first deliveries eventually took place in June 2013, with only 3 weeks to go until deadline. It was therefore decided to have 2 teams work at the same time, one taking care of the sites in the South of France, and the other in the North.

All installations were finally completed to the customer’s satisfaction by June 28th, 2013, and the permanent shelters are on target for completion by 2020.

We hope never to see such a terrible event as led to the EDF review, if you ever review your emergency or contigency plans for your business and conclude you need addtional Temporary, Semi Temporary or Permanent Strorage please click here for a look at our Long and Short Term Cost-Effective Solutions for Storage Structures