Hinkley Point C hits its biggest milestone yet
• On schedule completion of Unit 1 nuclear platform
• Nuclear station’s low carbon electricity vital for transition to “Net Zero”
• Contracts signed for innovative joint venture for next phase, boosting UK skills
• Unit 2 expected to hit same milestone in June 2020
Hinkley Point C has hit its biggest milestone yet on schedule. The completion of the base for the first reactor, known as “J-zero”, means that the construction of the nuclear buildings above ground can now begin in earnest.
The final 9,000m³ of concrete was the largest concrete pour in the UK, beating a record set by the Shard in London. Reinforced with 5,000 tonnes of Welsh steel, the base has been under construction by the UK-French joint venture of Bouygues-Laing O’Rourke for six months.
The event was due to be marked by a visit from the minister responsible for nuclear energy, Andrew Stephenson MP, who saw the construction site today (Friday June 28) and met apprentices at the National College for Nuclear.
Good progress and efficiency improvements means that the second Hinkley Point C reactor will hit its own J-zero moment in June 2020.
Next phase boosts UK skills
Final contracts have now been signed for an innovative joint venture to install the pipes and cables at the power station. The MEH1 Joint Venture brings UK contractors Balfour Beatty, Cavendish, Altrad and Doosan together to share expertise and incentivise collaboration and efficiency. The JV was influenced by the success of a single organisation carrying out this complex work during construction at Taishan, the EPR operating in China.
Pipework will be made by Bilfinger in Immingham at a modernised facility which will boost UK industrial capacity in this highly specialised area.
Hinkley Point C is working to tackle the UK skills shortage in welding by working with the MEH Joint Venture, ECITB, the Weldability Foundation, South West Institute of Technology and Bridgwater & Taunton College, to develop a new welding centre of excellence in Bridgwater. Making use of EDF Energy’s £4.5 million investment at the college, the centre will train and qualify the UK’s next generation of welders, benefitting people and industries across the South-West. With the ambitionto provide 350-500 welding NVQ qualifications per year, the initiative shows nuclear’s ability to create a positive impact for UK skills.
Hinkley Point C’s reliable low carbon electricity will play a vital role in helping the UK tackle the climate change crisis. With a large expansion of renewables, it will make “Net Zero” emissions possible and help the UK have an affordable and secure electricity supply. Innovation and the transfer of design, skills and experience from Hinkley Point C means the proposed near-identical
project at Sizewell C can be significantly cheaper to build and finance, and that subsequent projects at Bradwell B and elsewhere will also benefit.