More than 400 Stakeholders and supporters of our Hinkley Point C (HPC) project - including members of the local community, supply chain, trade unions, regulators, and Government representatives from France, the UK and China - gathered on Wednesday (26 October) to launch the project’s delivery phase and mobilise teams for the decade ahead. The aim of the event, Step up to Succeed: Building Better Energy Together, was to look forward to the construction of Britain’s first new nuclear power station for a generation.
Keynote speeches were delivered by Energy Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz - which you can read below, and EDF Group CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy. Presentations were also given by Xavier Ursat, Group Comex member responsible for new nuclear, Zheng Dongshan, Senior Vice President, CGN, and Mark Foy, Deputy Chief Inspector, Office for Nuclear Regulation.
We are here to see the Team which is ready to build Hinkley Point C
The Team is ready. You are the Team… We are the Team.
It is good to see here today so many people who have made Hinkley Point C possible. We are here to celebrate you and thank you.
Seeing is believing. We are here to see the Team which is ready to build Hinkley Point C. It is you.
I will not repeat what the film shows: Why HPC is such a strategic project for the UK, and why and how we succeeded to this point.
We succeeded because we were determined and because HPC is the right project. You know this project is a Force for Good. You share the passion for electricity, the lifeblood of our modern economies.
You feel a great sense of pride for the good that nuclear brings and a sense of purpose to deliver a project that is critical.
This project is critical. You know the project is critical to the security of our power system – our low carbon, centralised and decentralised power system.
Playing a critical role in the fight against climate change
Nuclear is not the technology of the past. Hinkley Point C is a project for the future. And the future will be diverse.
You know the project is critical for customers in Britain. You know it is critical in the fight against climate change. You know it is critical for the communities for whom it is an engine for sustainable growth. And you know it is critical for the future of our companies and the nuclear industry in Europe and around the world.
So we, with our partner CGN, recognise that we have a great responsibility to succeed. We will be accountable. We will succeed. And there is every reason to succeed: it is in our hands.
In the last 10 years, external events have, at times, disrupted the smooth development of HPC. During those times, our job was constantly to realign the planets, with a sense of destination and purpose.
In the aeronautics industry there is a guiding rule. When an aeroplane runs into problems, rule number one: you fly the aeroplane. Don’t be distracted. Focus on the one thing that matters.
Now, even if all sorts of events will continue to happen, even if we know that there will be many challenges between now and 2025, we also know that success is entirely in our hands – in your hands.
So I say to you again, rule number one: Deliver the project. Safely, to time, quality and budget. And my message to you is that I trust we all, through you, will succeed. You are trusted to deliver - and you will be successful because you are trusted and empowered.
We will nurture our most precious asset: Our credibility. Our credibility built up over the years through our steady commitment to HPC, in the face of the challenges. Our credibility strengthened through the great performance of our existing nuclear fleet in the UK in the last 7 years. This credibility will be nurtured through our culture of openness and transparency.
And this credibility must reach out to all parts of our business, including our Customers business, which is also Stepping up to Succeed.
Our success will be based on five interlocking principles, like the Olympic rings
HPC will be our own Olympics. It inspires us just as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which EDF was a top tier partner of, inspired the nation.
Our plan for delivery is clear. Our success will be based on five interlocking principles, like the five Olympic rings. They are the reasons why we will succeed.
The first is safety. It is our overriding priority as a company and as an industry. That is equally true for HPC. Our ambition – your ambition - is for Zero Harm during construction of this project. We will hear from our supply chain partners later on the part they will play.
It is an ambitious target, and it is the vision that we must work towards. We will be on time and on budget only if we are safe. So Zero Harm is the first of our Olympic rings.
The second is that we will be honest, transparent and accountable. We will do this in living the values of NNB, which are humility, positivity, solidarity, respect and clarity. And again, we will be on time and on budget only if we are honest, transparent and accountable.
Thirdly, we will work as a team. The team spirit of respecting each other, with no blame culture, a spirit of fairness and a sense of being in it together: those will be key for motivation and success.
People will be at the heart of everything we do. Because there can be no industrial strategy without a people strategy.
Hinkley Point C will be a success because people will be proud to work on it as a team. A team reaching out and learning the lessons from the EPR construction at Taishan and Flamanville, and also from Olkiluoto. And from many large, successful construction projects in the UK.
This project will create within the wider HPC team a unique bond. The blending of your diverse talent will deliver an emotional connection that will make a difference. Part of this is the sense of legacy.
We might not all be there working on this project in 2025. But, Team, I can tell you that all of us will be proud of it in 2025, with a collective sense that we have been part of it, and that we made it as a team.
Innovation at the heart of Hinkley Point C
Innovation is a golden thread of HPC. It is an innovative, modern technology – the EPR, which meets the highest standards of safety. And the project is underpinned by innovative partnerships.
The contract for difference with the British Government is a first of a kind for a nuclear project and countries across the world and in Europe are looking at how to replicate it for their own new nuclear programmes.
The waste and decommissioning arrangements are also innovative. It is the first time in new nuclear that these are part of the deal up front.
We have been innovative in involving contractors early, developing a supply chain and agreeing a culture of co-operation. We will continue to innovate in nurturing this win-win culture with suppliers in our commercial relationships.
Supporting this culture of co-operation is an innovative organisational structure. We have put in place engineering platforms where we bring together the different parties contributing to engineering within EDF and among our suppliers.
While people think of Hinkley Point C as a construction project located in Somerset, this is only partially true as together with our industrial partners, we are innovating to design more modular assemblies built in factories around Europe.
We are innovating to build pre-assembled mechanical and electrical units in facilities miles from the construction site.
We have led the way in social innovation with the ‘social covenant’ signed with our trade union partners and supply chain, covering productivity, safety, career development and training.
We have been innovative in the way we have worked with the local community to earn and deserve their support. This has been absolutely critical in gaining, through an innovative process, the planning consent. And we will continue to do so because our connection to the local environment is a key success factor.
And finally on innovation, Hinkley Point C will be EDF’s first major construction project fully embedded in the digital age. We are using digital tools to help us prepare for construction. 3D and 4D modelling mean we have already built our plant in the digital world. These digital technologies enable us to see where and when every component will go in, and to anticipate challenges ahead of time. Digital is also a way to share information, to collaborate, to be efficient and to simplify relationships. We are using digital communications and social media to broaden understanding of the project, to engage and to listen.
Social media will help us to attract the young, digital generation. And through your stories and your experiences during the months and years to come, you will enthuse the social networks for all the good reasons that this project stands for and delivers.
Innovation will be a permanent feature of Hinkley Point C – it is a cultural feature and strategic choice on this project. There will be many other innovations to come.
The final Olympic ring is about diversity and inclusion, openness and an outward, international outlook. At EDF Energy we are passionate about contributing to our country the UK and the communities in which we operate.
Sixty four percent of Hinkley Point C’s construction spend will go to UK companies. We will give opportunities to one thousand apprentices.
HPC will be an engine for the South West of England. We are bringing together small, agile companies from the South West with large, established multi-nationals. Our Britishness works hand in glove with our outward looking approach, because it is also international collaboration which will make the project stronger.
Today there are 54 nationalities working on the project. And obviously we are very happy that we are working with CGN.
The project will relaunch nuclear in Europe, and it will enable Britain to engage with like-minded countries in Europe who want to follow the new nuclear trail this country is blazing.
This diversity is crucial. It is about building bridges, not raising drawbridges.
Being a learning organisation is all about welcoming what others can bring to you. Working together, valuing our differences. Thinking and acting as ‘One Team’, whilst valuing what different experiences, backgrounds and cultures can bring. HPC will be a beacon of diversity and inclusion – and will showcase this attribute of Britishness.
So we understand what is required for success. The project will succeed because you – we - will feel safety as our overriding priority.
It will succeed because we will be open, transparent and accountable. It will succeed because we will work as one team. It will succeed because we will be innovative and digital all along. And it will succeed because we will be diverse and international. I am filled with pride for all we have achieved and I am inspired by what we will now build together. It is in your hands. It is in our hands.
The team is ready.
Thank you all for being here today, thank you.
I will now hand over to our Managing Director of Nuclear New Build, Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson.
I would like to pay a special tribute to my friend Humphrey for his leadership, vision, passion and dedication all these years. He is going to introduce our ‘Making a Difference’ sessions.
Humphrey epitomises the expression ‘Making a Difference’. All along he clearly understood the difference between success and failure.
That is why we succeeded. and why we shall continue to succeed.