Coronavirus infections force segment plant closure

29 July 2020

A rise in the number of workers testing positive for the coronavirus has forced infrastructure provider Balfour Beatty to close its state-of-the-art concrete segment plant at Bristol Port Dock in Avonmouth, England. The site, which will be closed until further notice, makes segments for EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project.

Balfour Beatty confirmed that of the plant’s 90-odd staff, 19 had tested positive on July 27. Within 24 hours that figure had risen to 28. In response to the outbreak, Balfour Beatty has carried out a ‘deep clean’ of the factory. This was in addition to the ongoing general health and safety precautions such as daily briefings and temperature checks for all arrivals on site, enhanced cleaning and hygiene, and implementing safe working distances.

The concrete segments made at the plant will line three tunnels being excavated for the power station: two 3.5km-long intake tunnels located 33m beneath the Bristol Channel that will provide cooling water, and a 1.8km-long outfall tunnel.

A total of three TBMs are being used, the first of which started mining the first intake tunnel in September 2019. The tunnels are expected to take around 12 months to excavate and once complete, the three front sections of each TBM will be left buried beneath the sea bed.