Unveiling Hinkley Point C: A Pioneering UK Nuclear Power Station Project

Posted on 11 August 2022

In the coming weeks, we will delve into an in-depth analysis of the UK's most notable infrastructure projects to ascertain their current status. Our comprehensive investigation will encompass Crossrail, Tideway, Hinkley Point C, the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station, the Stonehenge Tunnel, HS2, the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, and Birmingham's Big City Plan. Among these projects, we will now delve into Hinkley Point C, which stands as one of the pioneering nuclear power stations under construction in the UK after a span of more than two decades.

What is Hinkley Point C?

Hinkley Point C, situated in Somerset, will be at the forefront of the UK's new nuclear power stations, providing clean electricity to approximately 6 million households. This ambitious project is not only set to create numerous job opportunities but also promises enduring economic benefits for the UK.

With the inclusion of two state-of-the-art European pressurized nuclear reactors, each boasting a capacity of 1650 megawatts, this power station will have the capability to generate electricity for an estimated 5 million homes. By harnessing low-carbon energy, Hinkley Point C is projected to contribute around 6% of the country's total electricity, playing a significant role in the UK's ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The construction of this nuclear station, first announced by the British Government in 2010 alongside eight other sites, has the potential to create over 25,000 employment opportunities, including 1,000 apprenticeships. Although the project commenced in 2017, it has faced delays, largely attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. Presently, the power station is anticipated to be completed by June 2027, assuming all goes according to plan.

What Contractors are involved in the project?
  • The project is financed by both EDF Energy and China General Nuclear Power Group

  • BYLOR, Bouygues UK and Laing O’Rourke JV are the main civil contracts covering the civil construction side of the power station

  • Balfour Beatty is constructing the main cooling water tunnels

  • Bouygues Energies & Services manufacturing, designing and onsite installing diesel generators.

  • Rolls-Royce is designing, manufacturing, installing and commissioning the four-station black diesel generator and heat exchangers.

  • UK Power Network is constructing the electrical supplies network with the provision of transformers and cabling.

  • Alstom Powers contract covers the supply, commission and installation of the nuclear reactor, components, reactor pressure valves, generators and more.

History of Hinkley Point C

2010 - Announcement of the site

2011 - EDF submitted a 55,000-page planning application

2012 - Nuclear site licence granted

2014 - European commission approve the project 

2015 - A loan of £2bn is confirmed by George Osbourne

2016 - UK Government approve the project

2017 - construction begins

2019 – Completion of the base for the first reactor

2020 – Completion of the base for the second reactor

2022 – Work finishes on the first reactor.

2023 – First nuclear reactor pressure vessel is delivered to site

At what stage is Hinkley Point C

In April, Hinkley Point C reached a significant milestone by successfully installing six vertical shafts at a depth exceeding 20 meters. This achievement signifies the progression towards connecting the six miles of tunnels with the seabed. Skilled miners will soon begin excavating a horizontal connection between the base of the shaft and the tunnel, thereby initiating the initial phase of linking the intake and outfall heads with the tunnels. These massive structures, weighing 5,000 tonnes each, were lowered onto the seabed during the previous summer. They are designed to facilitate the circulation of water to the two nuclear reactors at the site.

What’s next?

Throughout 2023, Hinkley Point C is actively engaged in the installation of the reactor support ring, a crucial component designed to accommodate the reactor vessel. The project teams are diligently working to complete this task, after which they will proceed to the next critical phase: fitting the dome for unit one. Once the dome is successfully in place, the focus will shift towards introducing the essential reactor components that enable Hinkley Point C to generate heat and produce steam to power the turbines.

Let's take a look at the numbers
  • The project will be capable of generating 3,260MW of low-carbon electricity for 60 years.

  • The Nuclear Power Station has an expected cost of £25-26 billion.

  • Hinkley Point C Will deliver 7% of the UK’s electricity.

  • The project will provide 25,000 jobs.

  • When constructed, a workforce of 900 will be required at the site.

  • 5.8 million homes could be powered.

Join us next week where we'll be looking at the Battersea Power Station Redevelopment, a project transforming the 39-year-old derelict power station.


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