EDF Energy said on 31 March that it had poured concrete for some of the first permanent structures at its Hinkley Point C nuclear project site in the UK, after receiving approval from the Office of Nuclear Regulation. EDF Energy said concrete had been poured for Hinkley's power station galleries, a network of connected tunnels which will carry cabling and pipes. Construction of the first reactor at the plant is scheduled to start in 2019 when concrete will be poured for the first time to make the reactor platform, it added. Pouring the concrete for the first permanent structure at Hinkley is “a significant milestone”, Hinkley Point C project director Philippe Bordarier said in a statement.
EDF Energy said 1,600 workers are on the site each day. Some 3mt of concrete and 230,000t 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 Express Reinforcements from South Wales. Other progress includes start of construction of a 500 metre temporary jetty in the Bristol Channel allowing 80% of the aggregate to be brought in by sea rather than by road. Two pile-driving machines are drilling holes in the bedrock and have so far installed 18 piles. The jetty is due for completion in 2018. Every shipload of materials will take the equivalent of 250 lorry-loads off the local roads.
Construction is underway of a store which can contain 57,000t of aggregate. Work will soon begin on the conveyor systems to carry the aggregate around the site. Excavation of 3m cubic metres of soil and rock has begun to prepare the ground for the power station buildings. Almost 6m cubic metres will be excavated in total.
Work also includes construction of the first two tower cranes and 15 on-site accommodation buildings for more than 500 workers. Manufacturing of the first of the 510 units is underway at Caledonian Modular in Newark, Nottinghamshire. The company has doubled its workforce to complete the order. EDF has a 66.5% stake in the NPP, the rest being held by China General Nuclear Power Corporation. The plant is due to begin operation in 2025.