French contractor Bouygues has been awarded a construction contract worth at least €1.7bn ($1.8bn) by Electricite de France (EDF) related to the UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. Bouygues will work with UK firm Laing O’Rourke on construction of the buildings that will house the two EPR reactors at Hinkley, Bougues said in a statement on 11 January. EDF says lessons learned from four similar reactors built in France, Finland and China will allow it to complete the plant by 2025, with an annual investment return of about 9% after tax over its 60-year lifespan.   

EPR technology being installed at NPP projects in Flamanville (France), Olkiluoto (Finland) and Taishan (China) that have run over-budget and behind schedule. At Flamanville, Bouygues had to correct flaws in some walls and other parts of the plant, with CEO Martin Bouygues calling the model “extremely complex” to build, notably because the quantity of steel used made the pouring of concrete difficult. French regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire temporarily halted construction at the plant in 2008 due to problems with the quality of the concrete reinforcement used. Bouygues first started digging at that site in September, 2006 and the reactor is now scheduled to start up in the fourth quarter of 2018, six years behind schedule and for a total cost that has tripled to €10.5bn.

In Finland, unit 3 of Teollisuuden Voima Oyj’s unit 3 has been plagued by delays and is now nine-years behind schedule  In September 2014, Areva announced that the unit was on track for completion in mid-2016. However, costs have increased from and original estimate of $3.3bn to $9.3bn and the plant is now scheduled to start up in late 2018. Units 1 and 2 of China’s Taishan NPP have faced delays due to safety issues Construction of Taishan 1 began in November 2009, and Taishan 2 in April 2010. The plants were scheduled to begin operating in 2014 and 2015 but are now expected to begin operating later this year, about three years behind schedule.