EPR Nuclear Power Plant / Thomas Pleiner

Discussion in 'Architecture Models' started by thomas-r, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. thomas-r

    thomas-r New Member

    Dear all,

    Since I'm new to this forum, I'd like to introduce myself first: I'm Thomas from Nuremberg (Germany), used to be a fervent card modeler in my childhood (long, long ago) and returned to this hobby some years ago.

    Having appreciated the warm welcome Maria got in this forum, encouraged me to share my experience with Thomas Pleiner's new kit of the EPR nuclear power plant. I happen to work for the company which actually builds this plant in Finland - thus I'm not only familiar with the subject, I also took part in the publishing process of this model and had the honour to build the very first complete example of this kit.

    This kit is intended to show many details by way of removable parts. Because I wanted to build a display model for exhibitions, I had to find another way of showing "hidden" parts of the plant. Thus I had to "deviate" sometimes from the building instructions. I'll explain this later on the respective subjects. When starting, I decided to build the plant as in the status of being serviced. That means to show several components (e.g. turbine or reactor) opened, allowing to displaying the internals.

    Having spent about 320 building hours, I recently finished the model and would like to give you kind of a building report (in several chapters).

    1. Turbine Hall (121 hours)

    With 865 parts, this is - besides the reactor building - the most demanding subject of the model.

    The building structure is of quite straightforward shoe-box type which needs below the turbine floor additional reinforcement by means of 0.7 – 1.0 mm cardboard. For getting the walls light-tight (considering necessary internal lighting) I glued aluminium foil between the inner and outer walls. (I made a similar approach to all subsequent buildings with internal lighting.)

    Having set-up the walls and turbine floor, fitting out of the building started with the supporting structure of girders, pillars and framework (Picture 1). Since the piping is running around some of the girders between main hall and "side nave", I decided to erect these girders after completion of the piping. Picture 2 shows all the outer supporting structures finished.

    - Notches are indicated in the girders for crane rails. There is no need to cut them out. It worked better without them.
    - The hollow beam for the main crane (on top alongside the right hand wall) should be reinforced (inside) with fitting strips of wood. This helps much to make the outer wall absolutely straight and strengthens considerably the whole structure (same for the opposite beam).

    Next came the feedwater tank and the two reheaters (picture 3, note the opening in the floor for the turbine bed).

    More will follow. I hope you enjoy it.
  2. thomas-r

    thomas-r New Member

    Turbine hall (continued)

    The turbine-generator set was then built separately on its bed and afterwards mounted in the opening in the turbine floor. I decided to build three different versions of the large low pressure (LP) turbines: the first one closed, the second one opened, showing the rotor with its blades and the third one with removed rotor. For that reason I had to construct myself the inner casing, representing the stationary blades. The removed rotor was later placed on scratch-built supports on the turbine floor.
    Pictures 4 – 6 show the process of building the turbine-generator set.

    Next part coming soon
  3. thomas-r

    thomas-r New Member

    Dear all,

    here is part three of the turbine hall:

    Picture 7 shows the completed turbine-generator set monted on the turbine floor.

    Next came the piping (pictures 8 + 9) connecting turbines, reheaters and feedwater tank. The long pipes were reinforced with wooden rods. It was the first time I built this type of piping and I was really astonished that – with correct cutting – everything fitted (nearly) precisely. I only had to add some supports to the very long pipes, considering that as an exhibition model it had to withstand rough handling during transportation.
  4. barry

    barry Active Member

    Welcome aboard, that looks like it takes some building. Heavy water not sea water makes a nice change.

    Have fun here

  5. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Now I know I have to have that kit. I'll bet getting the turbine blades to fit into the casing is a real trip. An absolute gem....looks accurate enough to give plant tours from.
  6. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Welcome aboard and thanks. The model is fascinating...., the rateau blades of the open turbine box must have required a great deal of patience. An incredible build!

    Thanks for your efforts, Gil

    P.S. Darwin, I trained at NPTU and Thomas, have a gingerbread for me at the Chritmasmart.
  7. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    :shock: Gil, no kidding? Small world....when and where were you at prototype? I was an NPE at S1W from 1966 thru 1971, and taught outhull Chem and Radcon from 1971 to 1973.
  8. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    I'm following this build with great interest. Welcome, and thanks for sharing! - Leif
  9. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    1966/67. S5G, the big Ketchup Bottle in a pond in a desert in the middle of the state of I Don't Know.

    Best, Gil
  10. Huey

    Huey Member

    Welcome to the group! Its good to have different varities of subjects for models. Perhaps you and Maria can share with us architecture models build threads on a regular basis :D
  11. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Thomas

    Welcome to the crowd and have fun, always intresting to see how everyone builds models.
    Great to see this come together and I will look forward to each and every post on this.

    Keep at it and post away

  12. tino

    tino Member

    Hi Thomas,
    You start very well with what already is one great building tread.

  13. thomas-r

    thomas-r New Member

    Dear all,

    With so many positive replies I cannot but continue with my report. Thanks for all the nice words.

    First few remarks to some of the replies:

    Barry: Sorry to disappoint you, but it's a pressurized light water reactor, not the heavy water type. But you can't tell it from the turbine hall.

    Gil&Darwin: Nice to have nuclear experts on board, if NPTU is what I think it is. (Nuclear Power Training Unit for naval vessels)

    Gil: It'll be a gingerbread + hot spiced blueberry wine!

    Huey: For space reasons I usually build ships. This is my first architectural model – and Maria is a strong "competitor".

    But now back to business.

    Turbine hall (final part):

    With the platform on top of the feedwater tank, some additional piping and the girders and wall separating the main hall from the "side nave" the work on the turbine floor was finished (pictures 10 – 13).

    - The platform on top of the feedwater tank should be mounted after erection of the remaining girders. In my case the platform turned out to be a bit too wide, interfering with the girders.
    - While building the pipe work, it has to be considered that the girders have to be fitted on their pedestals without interfering with the pipe work – check, re-check and check again before gluing anything to its place.

    Finally came the cranes, the roof beams, internal lighting with two white LEDs and the roofs (main hall and "side nave"), and more than one third of the model had been finished (picture 14 – 17).

    Next chapter will deal with the reactor building. But you have to wait for the next weekend, I'm going to present my model at an EPR conference in Paris this week.
  14. thomas-r

    thomas-r New Member

    turbine hall - pictures 13 - 15
  15. thomas-r

    thomas-r New Member

    turbinw hall pictures 16 + 17.

    A bientot!
  16. thomas-r

    thomas-r New Member

    Dear all,

    Here the next part of my construction report.

    Reactor Building (71 hours)

    The reactor building is the true heart of any nuclear power plant. It contains the nuclear steam supply system of which following parts a represented in this model: reactor pressure vessel, steam generators, steam lines, coolant pumps, coolant lines, water pools for fuel assembly handling, a refueling machine, an equipment hatch and a huge polar crane. All this is surrounded by thick concrete double walls and topped by an ellipsoidal dome.

    Thomas Pleiner designed the model in a way that many parts are visible only after removing other parts (kind of the Russian puppet in a puppet in a puppet … style). For an exhibition model this is not feasible because it would be displayed in a show case without access to the internals. Thus I had to build it in a manner to show as many components as possible without the necessity to remove anything.

    This was done by choosing the status of a nuclear power plant during its annual outage which is used for refueling and servicing the plant. That means the concrete slabs covering the reactor had to be removed, the reactor vessel head was removed as well as the concrete slabs above one of the coolant pumps. And all removed parts had to be stored at their determined place during an outage. (For this it helped significantly that I had access to all necessary information in my company). And finally the dome had to be partly opened to allow a clear view into the reactor building.

    All this was not planned in the model design. Thus I had to improvise a bit, to construct e.g. the concrete slabs from scratch, to break viewing holes into floors and roofs and, of course, to deviate substantially from the proposed construction sequence.

    I first built the reactor floor with all structures below (casings for the steam generators, one coolant pump with its coolant lines, reactor pool and fuel transfer pools. Then I added the opened reactor vessel with the reactor core and scratch built nozzles. Then the reactor pool was covered with clear plastic sheet to represent the water level. A blue LED at the bottom of the reactor vessel was used to simulate the Cerencov radiation.

    Next came all the “houses†which “hide†the internal components, then the semicircular platform and the inner walls. Then I could insert the steam generators, the steam lines, the equipment hatch and the refueling machine. Finally all “removed†parts were glued to there intermediate storage space.

    The circular catwalk below the polar crane was a bit tricky, but the use of nail polish remover (the acetone type, courtesy of my wife) helped to remove excess glue.
    The polar crane was a real joy to build, and to give some lighting to the reactor floor, I installed a white LED below the main hoist.

    With the polar crane in place, I built the outer walls of the reactor building, inserted the complete internals and only the dome was left to be done. Here I had to improvise again, to change it from a thin paper shell into something that looked like a thick concrete structure (judge yourself whether I succeeded).

    This building was the most complex task I’ve ever encountered in a paper model. Don’t start before having a clear vision of how and in which sequence to build it. Otherwise you might need an additional bottle of nail polish remover for opening already fixed joints.

    NOTE: The coolant loop (reactor vessel + steam generator + coolant pump + coolant lines) as shown in Sketch C5 of the instructions is meant to be built and displayed separately and NOT to be inserted in the reactor building. This can be done if the reactor pool is shown closed. The instructions are there a bit fuzzy.

    The following pictures shall give some impressions of the construction sequence.
  17. thomas-r

    thomas-r New Member

    here the next three pictures of the reactor builing
  18. thomas-r

    thomas-r New Member

    and here the last three pictures of the reactor building.

    Next part (coming soon) will deal with the buildings surrounding the reactor building.

    Have a nice weekend!
  19. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Absolutely and positively stunning!

    Best regards, Gil
  20. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Oh, that no. 8 picture is almost for real, isn't it! - L.

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