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    Rehabilitation of the Mont Blanc tunnel

    In order to avoid another catastrophe like the March 24, 1999 fire in the Mont Blanc tunnel does not happen again, new security measures have been taken for the rehabilitation of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Schneider Electric is participating in this rehabilitation effort, since it is one of the suppliers for Alstom Contracting/Gemmo consortium, especially in charge of the tunnel's power portion of the systems. The installation of the first technical equipment began in March 2001. The work will amount to more than 300 million euros, only 40% of which will be devoted to civil engineering. The technical equipment is, in fact, extremely important, because its main role will be to ensure the safety of drivers and emergency teams, in the event of an incident.
    The reopening of the tunnel to road traffic is scheduled for the end of 2001.

    The equipment supplied by Schneider Electric for the power contract:
    > MV cubicles: 118x SM6 24KVA/630 A and 16 kA cubicles, mostly supplied by Schneider Italy. Schneider proposed the SM6 cubicles because of their small size. Another reason was the SM6 meets both French and Italian standards, as well as EDF (French utility) and ENEL (Italian utility) specifications, which is key since power for the tunnel is supplied by EDF on the French side, and by ENEL on the Italian side.

    > Transformers: 26x Trihal 24kV/1000, 800 and 630 kVA transformers. The Trihal is manufactured by France Transfo, a Schneider Electric subsidiary, with F1 fire resistance certification, and guaranteed immediate self-quenching. Eight other twelve-phase Trihal 4.4 MVA transformers were supplied for the ventilation system, together with two 1,250 kVA transformers.

    > Low voltage: Schneider France and Schneider Italy supplied circuit-breakers and Prisma panel structures as separate components to French and Italian panel-builders. A total of 50x 1,200-1,600 A Masterpact NW circuit-breakers and 550x 100-1,250 A Compact NS circuit-breakers will be installed in the tunnel. In MV, just as for LV, the circuit-breakers are either equipped with digital protection relays (Sepam) or Masterpact Micrologic trip units, which enable the intelligent management of electrical distribution.