Workers at the Hinkley Point C nuclear construction project in the United Kingdom have completed the 49,000-ton base for the station’s second reactor, Unit C2, hitting a target date set more than four years ago, according to EDF Energy.
EDF said in a June 1 news release that the pour of 8,991 cubic meters (about 317,514 cubic feet) of concrete represents a new U.K. record for a single continuous concrete pour, surpassing by 37 cubic meters (about 1,307 cubic feet) the previous record, set during the construction of the base for Hinkley Point’s Unit C1 in June last year. This latest milestone was reached despite a reduction in the number of workers at the project from 4,000 to 2,000—one of a number of actions taken by EDF to address the COVID-19 crisis.
What they’re saying: "I want to thank workers and our union partners for their extraordinary efforts to make safe working possible during the pandemic,” said Stuart Crooks, Hinkley Point C’s managing director. “They have adapted to major changes in everyday behaviors and working practices, which would have been unimaginable a few months ago. The commitment of our specialist suppliers across the U.K. and in Europe has also been instrumental in helping us safely achieve this major milestone. And we must never forget the duty of care we owe to our community, whose ongoing support is vital to the success of our project.”
Background: In September 2008, French utility Électricité de France announced that it had agreed to a takeover of British Energy (which became EDF Energy), operator of Hinkley Point B, a nuclear power station in Somerset with two gas-cooled reactors, and that it was planning to build an adjacent power station, Hinkley Point C, which would house two 1,630-MWe EPRs. The U.K. government approved the project in September 2016, following a favorable vote by the Électricité de France board. Hinkley Point Units C1 and C2 are scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2025 and 2026, respectively. If all goes according to plan, they will be the first new nuclear units in the United Kingdom since Sizewell B started up in 1995.