Hinkley Point C Construction Hits Major Milestones in 2022/23

Posted on 23 May 2023

​​In our ‘Hinkley Point C: Taking a look at the UK’s largest Infrastructure projects and where they are now’ article back in August, we took a look into the Hinkley C project, the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK for over 20 years in Somerset.

HSQ take a look at an overview of Hinkley Point C and the recent wavelengths being made in the project to date for 2023

Hinkley Point C

Hinkley Point C, currently being constructed in Somerset, is the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in over 20 years. The new nuclear station will provide low-carbon electricity for around 6 million homes, creating thousands of jobs and bringing lasting benefits to the UK economy.

The project, which includes construction and operations will create 25,000 employment opportunities, and up to 1,000 apprenticeships, with 64% of the project’s construction value predicted to go to UK companies. Hinkley Point C will make major contributions to the UK’s move to reduce its carbon emissions. Two EPR reactors at the site will offset 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, with 600 million tonnes being offset over its 60-year lifespan.


History of Hinkley Point C up until construction begins.
  • 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

Since we last looked at Hinkley Point C in August 2022, the project has made significant strides in construction, let’s look at what’s been completed so far.


August 2022

Hinkley Point C released images of its latest engineering achievement – The precision placement of a 5,000-tonne intake head on the seabed of the Bristol channel. The structure was the second of four ‘intake’ heads that will be connected to 5 miles of tunnels, to supply Hinkley Point C’s two nuclear reactors with cooling waters.

It was also announced in August that Hinkley Point C will change the way it will store used fuel. The change comes from the originally proposed ‘wet design’ where spent fuel is stored in large pools to one which uses ‘dry’ storage. In dry storage, fuel will be stored in strong cannisters inside a building.

Hinkley Point C intake heads
Image of the 5,000 tonne structure being lowered is the second of four “intake” heads being connected to 5 miles of tunnels, which will supply Hinkley Point C’s two nuclear reactors with cooling water.
September 2022

On September 2nd 2022, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ruled against Hinkley Point C’s application not to install one of three fish protection measures originally proposed for the power station. The project started to look at its decision in detail to consider an appropriate response. Hinkley Point C will be the first power station to include any fish protection measures at all.

October 2022

In October Hinkley Point C announced that they had hit their goal of training 1,000 apprentices during the construction phase of the power station. The goal for the project was set during the planning stage, as part of their commitment to increasing opportunities for people in the local area. Hinkley Point C set up partnerships with training providers such as Bridgewater & Taunton College to create a pipeline from the classroom straight into employment.

November 2022

It is announced in November that a new factory based in North Wales will make Hinkley Point C’s pipework, creating 200 employment opportunities.

Nigel Cann, Hinkley Point C’s Delivery Director, commented on the new facility saying; “Hinkley Point C provides over 25,000 job opportunities across the UK and will invest £18 billion into the UK supply chain.

“We have strong links with Wales, with Welsh workers dominant on the construction site. The factory here at Broughton allows our partner Boccard to create quality products with a skilled workforce for Hinkley Point C and follow-on projects.

“I am very happy to be here at the start of the great opportunity this factory and the product it produces offers.”

 December 2022

In December, the first nuclear reactor built for a British power station in more than 30 years is ready to be delivered to Hinkley Point C in Somerset. Teams on the nuclear reactor spent 80,000 hours on its construction. The reactor is a high strength steel cylinder that contains nuclear fuel and a chain reaction that is needed to make heat. Heat created from the nuclear reactor will be used to create high-pressure steam, for the world’s largest turbines.

Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor
first nuclear reactor built for Hinkley Point C
February 2023

Going into February the first reactor arrives at the Hinkley Point C site. It is the first of the two reactors installed at the site. Each reactor will help provide enough low carbon electricity for 3 million homes; it will be vital in helping Britain achieve its goal of Net Zero.

The first reactor arrived in Britain at Avonmouth Docks in Bristol before it was transported by barge to Combwich Wharf on the River Parrett in Somerset. The reactor's final journey was a 5-hour trip for 4 miles by transporter to its permanent home on the site.


March 2023

In March, the reactor cavity precast pool, weighing 730 tonnes was successfully installed in its final position inside the Reactor Building of Hinkley Point C’s Unit 1. The reactor cavity precast pool is a vital structurL element of the reactor building.

Tractebel, who carries out the civil engineering design of the nuclear island buildings at the Hinkley Point C site said that the installation of the reactor cavity precast pool paves the way for the construction of the reactor dome that is planned for 2023.

Hinkley Point C reactor cavity precast pool
the reactor cavity precast pool
April 2023

Hinkley Point C’s offshore work moves into the final stages in April, as two huge jack-up vessels arrive off the coast of the site. The vessels, named ‘Neptune’ and ‘Sea Challenger’ will be used to install vital components for the project cooling water system.

Once the vessels are installed, miners at the site will dig horizontal connections between the bottom of the shaft and the tunnel. This takes on the first part of linking the intake and outfall heads with the tunnels. At 132M the ‘Sea Challenger’ is longer than a football pitch, with ‘Neptune’ being 60m long.

Work to install the shafts continue into Autumn of 2023.

Check out this video here that was recently published on a behind the scenes site tour of Hinkley Point C, giving an overview on where the project is headed:

Over the course of 2023, Hinkley Point C looks towards fitting the reactor support ring where a reactor vessel will fit in. Teams working on the project will then work on key steps to fitting the dome for unit one, once completed, they will start to introduce the key reactor components that allows Hinkley Point C to generate heat and produce steam for turbines.

For the remainder of 2023, Hinkley Point C’s set a milestone to mobilise the mechanical, electrical and HVAC partners into the pump house to start installing pumps, cables and cable trays that the project needs to bring the building to life.

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