A “major milestone” has been reached in the building of the UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, EDF Energy announced on 1 June.
EDF said workers at its site in Somerset have completed the 49,000-tonne base for the station’s second reactor on schedule, meeting a target date set more than four years ago.
The final concrete pour of 8991 cubic metres set a new UK record for a single, continuous pour. It surpasses by 37 cubic metres the previous record during construction of the base for Hinkley Point C's first unit.
Hanson UK supplied the raw materials for the concrete to main civils contractor BYLOR, which operates the on-site concrete production plant at the new nuclear power station under construction in Somerset.
“This major milestone in nuclear construction was completed by teams who have had to adapt to new Coronavirus working conditions. Their achievement, known as “J-zero”, comes less than a year after the completion of the first reactor’s base in June 2019,” EDF said.
“It is the second major goal in 2020 and the successful completion of both follows the achievement of all the project goals in 2019. The date for achieving J-zero on Unit 2 was set more than four years, before the final investment decision was taken.”
EDF added that completion of the second reactor base also benefited from experience gained on the first identical unit – “which has led to significant increases in productivity through steps such as increased use of prefabrication. This will benefit the proposed follow-on project at Sizewell C in Suffolk.” EDF recently applied to the UK Planning Inspectorate for permission to build Sizewell C.
Construction during the current Coronavirus crisis was able to continue “after the project took a wide range of steps to ensure the safety of workers and the community”. This included reducing numbers on site to enable social distancing and concentrating on the most critical areas of construction. Many health measures remain in force to prevent the spread of infection. Where social distancing is not possible, workers have been using extra protective equipment.
Commenting on the milestone Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association said:
“It is excellent news that Hinkley remains on track, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“This success follows on the heels of the news that the Hinkley Point C project beat its regional investment target five years early. 1100 local companies have already benefited to the tune of billions, with 10,000 jobs already.
“This power station represents a big step towards Net Zero emissions. It also shows nuclear’s large scale green growth opportunities are real, and there is more to come”.
Photo: The final concrete pour for Hinkley Point C2 continued around the clock (Photo: EDF Energy)