Hinkley Point C reaches another key milestone

25 September 2019

Great Britain – Tunnelling works have started at the Hinkley Point C project, UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation. Almost 38,000 concrete segments are being installed to support the three underground marine tunnels at up to 33m below the seabed of the Bristol Channel.

Once complete, the tunnels will form a critical part of Hinkley Point C’s cooling system and will have the capacity to transfer 120,000l of water per second.

Hinkley Point C will be the first power station in the Bristol Channel to include fish protection measures.

At Balfour Beatty’s manufacturing facility in Avonmouth, pre-fabricated nuclear-grade concrete segments will be made to ensure that each of three TBMs is able to deliver significant efficiency savings whilst excavating over 11t of rock per minute.

The first machine has been named Mary by local primary school children in honour of Mary Anning, a local palaeontologist and fossil finder. Mary will be able to reach a maximum speed of 120mm per minute.

The 1200t machine will be run by 12 operators including a pilot in addition to supporting teams at the surface.

Rob Jordan, Hinkley Point C construction director said: “The start of tunnelling at Hinkley Point C represents a hidden but vitally important milestone in the construction of the UK's first new nuclear power station in a generation. “Delivered to schedule, this achievement underlines the continued progress being made to ensure that Hinkley Point C will be ready to supply the UK with the reliable low carbon electricity that it needs to combat climate change.”

The new power station will supply safe, secure low carbon electricity to around 6 million homes.

Balfour Beatty is contracted to three major packages of works at Hinkley Point C. It was first appointed to deliver the electrical works package in a joint venture in 2015, the tunnelling and marine package in 2017 and most recently the 400kV overhead line project on behalf of National Grid in 2019.