One Of The UK’s Largest Nuclear Decommissioning Projects Specifies Fibrelite Composite Access Covers To Improve Safety And Efficiency

Fibrelite engineered bespoke retrofit GRP trench covers for the Hinkley Point (A) Nuclear Power Station, currently under decommissioning.

As nuclear decommissioning authorities seek to increase project efficiency while maintaining the highest possible standards of safety, companies responsible for the clean-up of sites look to new products and processes.

Existing Access Cover Challenges & A Bespoke Composite Solution

Magnox Ltd, the company responsible for the decommissioning of 12 nuclear sites in the UK , recently approached composite access cover manufacturer Fibrelite for a solution to access challenges at Hinkley Point A.

Magnox had established that the existing concrete and cast-iron trench and manhole access covering arrangements would be very troublesome long term and had experienced a number of failures across different locations/sites, causing confidence in these covers to be questioned. Key concerns included high levels of corrosion, structural degradation and extreme weight.

Predominantly located in pedestrian and vehicular traffic areas, this lack of confidence had led to large areas being barriered off and exclusion zones put into place.
Following discussions with Fibrelite’s technical team Magnox specified Fibrelite covers for a replacement programme at Hinkley Point A.

The Fibrelite technical team engineered numerous bespoke retrofit GRP composite trench and manhole covers, providing direct replacements for existing covers including differing depths, load ratings, and covers with locking mechanisms (in some instances).

Composite Access Covers Solve Manual Handling & Durability Difficulties

Fibrelite covers proved the ideal solution for Magnox’s requirements, solving the 3 key difficulties experienced with the existing concrete and cast-iron covers trench and manhole access covering arrangements:

  1. Weight: particularly in the nuclear industry, ease of access for services is imperative. Heavy concrete access covers impair this. Fibrelite covers are typically 1/3 the weight of similar metal and concrete alternatives and are suitable for a two-person lift.
  2. Manual handling: Magnox was concerned about the risk of injury due to manual handling of the heavy concrete and metal covers. These concerns were remedied with Fibrelite’s lightweight covers and FL7 ergonomic lifting handles (which allow safe lifting from waist height).
  3. Deteriorating performance: existing covers were exhibiting high levels of corrosion and structural degradation leading to concerns of fitness for purpose. The new Fibrelite covers are chemically inert so will last for years to come without degradation.
All Fibrelite trench covers can be safely and quickly removed by two people using the FL7 lifting handles (image used for illustration purposes and shows a different installation)

All Fibrelite trench covers can be safely and quickly removed by two people using the FL7 lifting handles (image used for illustration purposes and shows a different installation)

Previously installed concrete trench access covers had begun to corrode

Fibrelite covers are chemically inert and have an anti-slip tread pattern

The works was co-ordinated and delivered within a tight schedule to provide a safe, efficient and consistent solution within the decommissioning work being undertaken at Hinkley Point A.

Fibrelite Covers Specified For Future Magnox Projects

Magnox was pleased with the outcome of the project and advised that they would continue to specify Fibrelite access covers for future projects.

“We’re proud to see our covers increasingly specified in large-scale projects like this and other highly demanding environments, including defence, transportation, stadia, data centres and many more.”

David Holmes, Technical Director, Fibrelite

Fibrelite’s lightweight covers can be safely manually removed

Fibrelite’s lightweight covers can be safely manually removed

Exclusion zones were put in place to prevent loading causing a failure of the covers during the decommissioning work

The nuclear facility now has a safe covering for their utilities during the decommissioning work

The nuclear facility now has a safe covering for their utilities during the decommissioning work

Fibrelite: Over 30 Years of Composite Expertise

Fibrelite, the global leader in the manufacture and development of GRP manhole and trench covers draws their expertise from over 30 years of working with and being specified by the majority of the world’s leading oil companies including locally BP, Esso, Total, and many more. Look down on any petrol station forecourt, and odds are, you’ll see one of their covers. They actually invented the world’s first composite access cover back in 1980 for Esso UK (ExxonMobil) to solve manual handling injuries; and their covers are now specified in myriad industries globally.

Fibrelite is proud to design and manufacture in the UK for the UK, enabling a rapid design to delivery process.

Since 2013, Fibrelite has been a part of OPW (a Dover company) allowing the company to offer an unprecedented portfolio of complementary best-in-class products.

For more details on how and where Fibrelite covers are being adopted, check out their case studies here


Notes for Editor:

Full quality images can be found on our MyNewsdesk Service

About Fibrelite

Fibrelite is a global manufacturer of highly-engineered glass reinforced plastic (GRP) composite access covers capable of taking up to 90 tonne loads whilst still being light enough to be lifted by hand and is renowned for its high quality technical support and service.

Initially developed almost 40 years ago and now industry standard for petrol station forecourts, Fibrelite covers are increasingly specified for both new and retrofit work in a variety of industries in more than 80 countries around the world.  To find out more, please visit

About Hinkley Point A

Hinkley Point A, is one of 3 Hinkley Point nuclear power plants located on the Somerset coast, and operated for 35 years before closing in 2000, generating a total of 103 terawatt hours.

For more information, please contact Aaron McConkey ( +44 (0) 1756 799773)

Fibrelite; Snaygill Industrial Estate; Keighley Road; Skipton; North Yorkshire BD23 2QR