Member News

Five years on, 22,000 workers in Britain are at work on Hinkley Point C

29 September 2021

  • Contracts provide work for 3,600 British companies
  • Spending with businesses in North of England tops £1.2bn
  • Number of workers to grow as pandemic pressures ease
  • New photos and video show progress on the Somerset site

Five years after getting the go-ahead, the number of people across Britain working on the Hinkley Point C power station has reached 22,000. The growing number includes 6,300 on site, compared to just 1,500 at the height of the pandemic last year.

Final contracts for Hinkley Point C were signed on September 29, 2016. Since then, 3,600 British companies have won contracts on the project. This includes more than 400 businesses in the North of England where spending so far has already topped £1.2bn. The firms include many large and small companies like Blackburn-based Assystem , Darchem on Teesside or Kaefer in Jarrow. By the end of the project £18bn will have been spent with British businesses.

The nuclear power station will be essential in helping Britain achieve net zero emissions by providing reliable low carbon electricity to meet 7% of the country’s needs, working alongside wind and solar generation in place of fossil fuels like coal and gas.

Project progress 

New pictures and video released today show the latest progress:

  • The next prefabricated 17m high section of the first reactor building is complete and ready to be lifted into place by Big Carl
  • Work to build the 16m high floor for the first turbine and generator is under way, ready for the world’s most powerful “Arabelle” turbine which arrives later this year. Each turbine can produce more than 3% of the nation’s electricity, enough for more than 3m homes
  • 3.5 miles of cooling tunnels have been completed and six 5,000 tonne water intake heads are ready for installation
  • Work to install the 230 miles of pipes and 5,500 miles of cables is underway
  • Training for the first cohort of power station operators has begun
  • The country’s first “T-pylons” have been installed for the station’s 35-mile grid connection

Jobs and Skills 

  • Around 22,000 people in Britain are now working on the project – with suppliers and contractors in every part of the country. Full details available here.
  • During construction, 74,000 people in Britain are due to work on the project
  • Numbers on site are due to increase to around 8,500 in the next 18 months
  • 800 apprentices have been trained so far
  • Hinkley Point C has worked with trades unions and colleges to fill skills shortages and bring new people into the construction and nuclear industries, with new training centres for welders, electricians, construction workers and nuclear specialists

Hinkley Point C and its suppliers are using factory construction and innovation to increase quality and productivity – with big gains between the first unit and unit two. They are ready to replicate these benefits with the near identical design for Sizewell C in Suffolk.

Managing Director Stuart Crooks said: “Hinkley Point  C is essential in the fight against climate change and for Britain’s energy security. It is delivering on its promise of boosting British jobs, skills and industry right across the country.

“Covid-19 has challenged the project and its suppliers and I am proud of the enormous efforts made to keep the site safe and moving ahead. As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, we can now create more jobs as we step up construction and manufacturing for the next phase of the project.”

Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Greg Hands said: “I first worked on the case for Hinkley Point C as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2015-16. The progress that has been made over the past five years is fantastic to see. I look forward to visiting the site soon.”

“As our first nuclear power station in a generation it continues to bring tremendous benefits to local people and businesses in Somerset and around the UK. Nuclear power will play a key part in us meeting our world-leading climate targets, improving our energy security and providing clean electricity for millions of consumers.”

Unite National Officer for Construction, Jerry Swain said: “Hinkley Point is the most significant construction project in a generation, as it is fundamental to the UK’s future energy policy. It is essential that the lessons learnt and the skills developed at Hinkley are not allowed to be lost in the sands of time. To avoid this, the government must urgently make a decision to support the development of Sizewell C, so workers with their skills and experience can bridge across to this project, which is also essential to meet the UK’s future energy needs.”

Charlotte Childs, GMB National Officer for Construction and Engineering, said: ”GMB are proud to have been involved in HPC from the start, lobbying the government at the time to ensure that HPC became a reality. We have worked with EDF to make HPC not only a project delivered by highly skilled, unionised workers but to ensure a legacy of jobs and training that creates the next generation of engineering and construction workers. The UK energy market needs new nuclear projects to ensure supply stability through to and beyond its net zero targets. GMB are unapologetic advocates for new nuclear projects like Hinkley Point C and the upcoming Sizewell C. A just transition needs to have nuclear in the mix and these projects benefit our UK workforce and the communities they are built beside.”

Case Studies

Assystem- North West Blackburn based Assystem is providing engineering support to the Hinkley Point C project, one of 270 companies in the North West. Employing 90 people directly on Hinkley Point C and a further 100 across the UK’s nuclear fleet, Assystem is promoting diversity with a goal of recruiting 100 women into the Hinkley Point C project over five years.

Darchem – North-East  Based in Stillington near Stockton-on Tees, 400 people are working on Hinkley Point C contracts, building specialised tanks, stainless steel liners and other precision equipment.

Kaefer – North-East Jarrow based Kaefer is delivering specialist steel ductwork sections for the reactor buildings at Hinkley Point C and is one of 59 companies based in the North East. The ductwork will be fabricated at Kaefer’s Jarrow manufacturing facility on the Tyne with 40 people currently working directly on the Hinkley Point C project.

Bilfinger UK – Yorkshire and Humberside Bilfinger UK is one of more than 180 Hinkley Point C suppliers based in Yorkshire and Humberside. In a multi-million-pound contract the business will be leading the fabrication and installation works for the nuclear steam supply system.  As part of the work, the company plans to create 350 new UK jobs whilst also refurbishing facilities on Humberside to manufacture 56km of specialised pipework.

Mike Morgan Electrical Services – South-West Mike Morgan Electrical Services are one of over 1,300 businesses based in the South West of England. The Bridgwater-based business works as part of a local joint venture which holds a multi-million-pound contract. As a result of Hinkley Point C, the company has increased its workforce by 70% and now employees 70 people. The company is training 14 apprentices.

William Hare – South Wales William Hare is a specialist steel fabrication company with Hinkley Point C contracts totalling more than £135m. Employing around 700 people in Britain with facilities located in the North-West of England and South Wales, recent expansion has led to the creation of 75 additional jobs, including nine apprentices in Risca near Newport.

Notes

EDF

EDF is helping Britain achieve net-zero by leading the transition to a cleaner, low emission electric future and tackling climate change. We are Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, meeting around one-fifth of the country’s demand and supplying millions of customers with electricity and gas.

With around 5 million accounts, EDF is one of the largest suppliers to British homes and businesses
and a leading supplier of innovative energy solutions that are helping businesses become more energy independent. All of our home get energy tariffs backed by zero carbon electricity as standard.

We generate low-carbon electricity from eight nuclear power stations, more than thirty onshore wind farms and two offshore wind farms, thousands of EV charge-points, and combined heat and power plants. Wind, nuclear and solar all produce electricity that is zero carbon at the point of generation and have similar emissions over the build, run and retire lifecycles.

EDF is leading the UK’s nuclear renaissance with the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C, and is leading the development of plans for a replica at Sizewell C in Suffolk. Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C will provide low-carbon electricity to meet 14% of UK demand and power around 12 million homes.

EDF is one of the UK’s largest investors in renewables, with 1GW of renewable generation in operation and over 4GW in construction, planning and development across a range of technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar and battery storage. We are constructing our largest offshore wind farm in Britain – the 450 MW Neart na Gaoithe project in Scotland, which will be ready in 2023. Our energy services business, Imtech, is one of the largest technical service providers
in the UK and Ireland.

CGN

CGN is a leading global clean energy company. It has the largest nuclear generating capacity in China, the third largest worldwide, and is the main developer of new nuclear power globally.

The company has more than 30 years’ experience of safely and effectively developing, constructing and operating nuclear plants. It has 24 units in operation in China, with a total installed generating capacity of 27.14GW, and a further 7 units (8.23GW) under construction.

CGN is also a major investor in renewable energy, and has 38.6GW of installed capacity in 18 countries around the world. In the UK, the company is investing alongside EDF in Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C and Bradwell B, as well as in the project to secure regulatory approval for its UK HPR1000 reactor design. CGN also has 346MW of wind power in operation or under construction in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.
For more information

Gordon Bell
Senior External Communications Manager – Nuclear New Build
(T) 01278 484 032
(M) 07843 218 088
gordon.2.bell@edf-energy.com