Hinkley Point C tunnels win ICE South West award

5 October 2021

At a gala ceremony for the ICE South West Civil Engineering Awards held in Bristol, England on 30 September, Hinkley Point C Marine Works–Tunnels won the Project over £8m New Build Award.

Hinkley Point C is a nuclear power station currently under construction on the coast of Somerset in southwest England. As part of its cooling water system, the project includes the construction of two 3.5km-long intake tunnels and a 1.8km-long outfall tunnel located around 33m under the seabed. TBM excavation of the first intake tunnel was recently completed, as was all work on the onshore primary lining tunnel works. Excavation has also started on the outfall tunnel following the TBM launch. 

Challenges which were overcome by the team included difficult geology and logistics, challenging weather, and building the tunnels and shafts to nuclear standards during a pandemic.

According to ICE South West: “The tunnel drive and sprayed concrete lining (SCL) works involved a highly complex mining operation and took a high level of skill and expert planning to ensure success. This was achieved through collaborative teamwork, and the project team’s expertise and extensive tunnelling experience which ensured that project milestones were met”.

Safe delivery of some of the more complex aspects of the project was achieved through digital rehearsal techniques with 3D and 4D planning tools and visualisation which allowed instant and accurate dimension and constructability checks. This demonstrated to stakeholders how these digital tools can be used to improve safety, productivity and achieve cost and milestone certainty.

Among the benefits of the project is its positive impact on the local community, the educational experiences provided, and the employment created, all of which are expected to bring lasting benefits at both national and local levels.

Project credits:
Client: Nuclear New Build – EDF
Contractor: Balfour Beatty
Designer: Jacobs

Award judges:

Mike Gallop, Western Route Director, Network Rail, (Chair)

Mel Karam, CEO, Bristol Water

Abie Hearn, Divisional Manager, SWH Contracting

Glayne Price, South West Women in Construction (SWWIC) Chair and Director, LHC Design

Sally Walters, Framework Manager, Stantec