EDF Energy has poured the first concrete for a permanent structure at Hinkley Point C after the Office for Nuclear Regulation gave the all clear for the work to begin earlier this week.
Six months after the contracts were signed for the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation, the concrete has now been laid for the galleries which will carry cables and pipes around the plant.
Hinkley Point C project director Philippe Bordarier hailed the development as a “significant milestone”.
“It is the outcome of many years of preparation and hard work from all our teams and supply chain across the UK and France,” he added.
“The regulator’s consent for construction of the first safety-related structure at Hinkley Point C shows our commitment to the highest standards of quality and safety,” said EDF Energy managing director for nuclear new build Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson.
“We are very proud to be building the first new nuclear power station in a generation which will provide the UK with reliable, affordable, low carbon electricity for the future.”
EDF Energy says it has already shifted half of the 6 million tonnes of soil and rock which will need to be excavated to prepare the groundworks for the power station, and there are now 1,600 workers on site each day.
Construction of the building for the first reactor is scheduled to start in 2019 when concrete will be laid for the reactor platform.
Work has also begun on a 500 metre jetty in the in the Bristol Channel which will be used to ship in aggregate by sea. Two pile-driving machines have so far driven in 18 piles for the jetty, which is due to be completed in 2018.
Other progress includes:
- The construction of a 57,000 tonnne store for aggregate. Work will start soon on the conveyor systems to carry the aggregate around the site.
- The installation of the first two of the more than 50 tower cranes which will eventually be required during the height of construction.
- The beginning of work on 15 accommodation buildings which will house 500 workers on-site.
- The start of construction of a spray batching plant which produce the fine quality concrete needed to coat and secure slopes at the site.
Earlier this week the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency gave the all-clear to the reactor slated for use at the Moorside nuclear project in Cumbria following the completion of a generic design assessment. However, it came just a day after the reactor manufacturer Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy protection in the US.
Labour and the GMB union, which represents workers in the nuclear industry, have both called for the government to intervene to ensure the development goes ahead.