Hinkley Point C enters final stages


EDF leads installation of vital components in the power station’s cooling water system.

Neptune and Sea Challenger vessels.
Credit: EDF.

The energy firm is working with Balfour Beatty and New Wave Solutions to deliver this phase of the project. 

Two jack-up vessels arrived off the coast of Somerset, named “Neptune” and “Sea Challenger” respectively, two weeks ago. 

These vessels will be used for the installation. 

Inside the project 

Six vertical shafts will be installed at a depth of more than 20m. 

This is the first stage of connecting three tunnels, stretching to six miles, to the seabed. 

Once installed, miners will dig a horizontal connection between the bottom of the shafts and the tunnels. 

This will allow for the inward and outfall heads to be linked. 

The shafts, each weighing close to 5000 tonnes, were lowered into the seabed last summer. 

Sea Challenger is 132m long and Neptune is 60m long, both have cranes with a combined lifting power of 1500 tonnes. 

Each vessel stands on four ‘legs’ that allow them to operate safely above sea level.

This phase of the project is expected to continue into Autumn

Full scope 

The shafts will be used to circulate water to the two nuclear reactors.

Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues UK are in partnership in delivering the buildings that will house the two EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) nuclear reactors.

EDF and the government reached an agreement to deliver Hinkley Point C in 2013, with the firm expecting the plant to be up and running by 2017.

It is now understood that EDF is aiming for a start date in 2027, according to Reuters

The cost of the plant is now estimated at £33 billion, a near £10 billion increase from its initial cost. 

When completed, Hinkley Point C will be the first new nuclear power station in the UK for over 20 years. 

“We now look forward to utilising our unique capability and unrivalled expertise to continue with the linking up of the six miles of tunnels which are buried below the Bristol Channel – this is another important chapter in the offshore works required for Hinkley Point C’s critical water-cooling system,” said Roger Frost, Balfour Beatty project director

Balfour Beatty and EDF were approached for further comment. 

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