HI-LIFT is an innovative solution to enable nuclear power plants to safely load modern casks and canisters in spite of their building cranes’ insufficient capacity and inadequate structural strength of the plant’s load bearing walls.

HI-LIFT was first conceived, patented, designed, built and deployed at Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) Humboldt Bay Power Plant, decommissioned well over a decade ago, whose crane dated back to 1947 and wall structure supporting the crane was qualified for a mere 40 tons! The Humboldt Bay HI-LIFT safely handled Holtec’s HI-STAR HB dual purpose casks without stressing the existing crane or its supporting walls, saving PG&E substantial decommissioning funds and enabling an expedited schedule. The project’s performance duration is estimated to have extended by at least three years had the conventional approach to strengthen the load bearing walls and a new high-capacity bridge crane been employed.

Holtec’s defueling of Indian Point Unit 3 (IP3) nuclear unit in Buchanan, New York faced the same crane capacity problem that had confronted its sister plant, Indian Point Unit 2 (IP2). IP2’s previous owner reportedly spent over 60 million dollars to upgrade the crane to 110 tons and strengthen the supporting walls. Using the HI-LIFT technology, Holtec has successfully engineered and installed the 100-ton HI-LIFT crane for less than 10 million dollars!

The crux of the HI-LIFT technology is to artfully arrange the heavy payload to be safely transferred to the plant’s foundation by the structurally competent portion of the building, bypassing the weak regions such as the load bearing walls. 

Holtec’s HI-LIFT Technology at Indian Point Unit 3

HI-LIFT was approved by the NRC for Humboldt Bay a decade ago and recently for IP3, as a single-failureproof load handling device and has been manufactured as a safety-significant structure at the Holtec Manufacturing Division in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

HI-LIFT provides a proven solution to overcome the limitation in the civil/structural load bearing capacity of many nuclear power plants built in the 1960s and 70s when heavy casks, used universally in dry storage projects, did not exist. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention!