Framatome has completed manufacture of the reactor pressure vessel (RPC) for unit 1 of the UK’s Hinkley Point C (HPC) NPP. The RPV, following some 80,000 hours of work, is ready for delivery to the construction site. It measures 13 metres in length and weighs 500 tonnes. It is designed to run continuously for 18 months between refuelling outages. The reactor core will have an average temperature of around 300°C and will be able to withstand five times more pressure than a submarine at normal operating depths, HPC said.

This follows a previous milestone, when a 304-tonne steel liner ring was lifted onto the unit 1 reactor building. This was the third and final ring to be installed on the building, raising the height by 11.6-metres to 44-metres. 

Hinkley Point C, when complete, will comprise two EPR reactors supplied by EDF. In May, EDF, following a review of the project, confirmed Hinkley Point C would begin operating a year later than planned and could cost up to GBP3bn ($3.7bn) more to build than originally budgeted. A previous estimate in January 2021 revised costs up by GBP500m to between GBP22-23 billion. It was originally estimated to cost GBP18bn.

Image: The reactor vessel for Hinkley Point C unit 1 (courtesy of EDF Energy)