Waste, Recycling and Environmental, Engineering and Manufacturing

Barking Power Station chimneys demolished with explosives

RVA has overseen the demolition of two 55m high chimneys at Barking Reach Power Station, in East London, as the site gets one step closer to its new lease of life.

The concrete stacks with steel flues were brought to ground in only 10 seconds each, via the controlled use of approximately 10Kg of explosives.

Mindful of nearby stakeholders – including a petroleum fuels depot only 200m away – the early Sunday morning demolition was coordinated to minimise disruption and ensure maximum safety standards. With the 42-acre site visible from the A13, road closures were enforced, and the collapse mechanism was designed to avoid any structural damage to the main turbine halls – which remain intact.

Five 2,500 tonne boilers (heat recovery steam generators – HRSGs) have also been felled using traditional demolition techniques. This work was carried out in the late evening, over a six week period, when the peak rush hour traffic had passed.

The sequential demolition was planned by RVA in an exercise which began back in 2014. Engaged by Barking Power Ltd – part of Canadian firm Atco – RVA was initially appointed to undertake various front-end engineering services, including costings studies and the provision of help to de-rate the site. The coal-fired assets were closed in the same year, before various options were investigated for the site’s future.

The demolition project was then officially kickstarted last year, with RVA returning to deliver its suite of works execution services, including project and EHS management.

Commenting on the assignment, RVA’s managing director Richard Vann said: “We have now overseen more than 770 decommissioning projects worldwide, but that doesn’t mean they are not without their challenges. Every scheme requires meticulous planning and management, to ensure a safe, quality-led and cost-effective approach with minimal impact on the surrounding environment.

“With Barking, there was the added complexity of protecting the turbine hall and its contents, as the site looks set to embark on a new and very different life, having been acquired by the City of London Corporation.”

In December 2018, media reports confirmed that the City of London Corporation had acquired the site and were considering its future use as an iconic wholesale food market.

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