Six months after contracts were signed for Hinkley Point C in Somerset, the first concrete has been poured for the power station galleries — a network of connected tunnels that will carry cabling and pipes.
Construction of the building to house the first reactor at HPC is scheduled to start in 2019, when concrete will be poured to make the reactor platform.
EDF Energy has released new images showing the scale of the construction, which now involves 1,600 workers on site every day. Some 3 million tonnes of concrete and 230,000 tonnes of steel reinforcement will be used in construction, with 64% of the contract values being spent in the UK.
The steel reinforcement is being supplied by the South Wales company Express Reinforcements.
Workers have also started the construction of a 500m-long temporary jetty in the Bristol Channel; this will allow 80% of the aggregate to be brought in by sea rather than by road.
The jetty is due for completion in 2018, and every shipload will take 250 lorry-loads off the local roads. Construction has also begun on a store that can contain 57,000 tonnes of aggregate.
Work will soon begin on the conveyor systems to carry the aggregate around the site. Construction of the first two tower cranes has begun. The larger of the two is 40m high, has a 60m jib and a lifting capacity of 16 tonnes. When building work reaches its peak, there will be more than 50 tower cranes on site.
HPC’s project director, Philippe Bordarier, said: “Pouring the concrete for the first permanent structure is a significant milestone. It is the outcome of many years of preparation and hard work from all our teams and our supply chain across the UK and France. It demonstrates our ability to undertake the serious responsibility of nuclear power plant construction.”
HPC will provide 25,000 job opportunities and 1,000 apprenticeships, with many of the jobs going to people living in Somerset.
With 64% of the project spend going to the UK, HPC is already delivering significant benefits to the economy in the South West and other parts of the country, with £435 million of contracts having already been signed with businesses in the region.