Here are answers to some of the more common questions we receive about the Hinkley Point C project.
What is HPC?
EDF Energy is building two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which are the first in a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK.
Where is the proposed power station?
The Hinkley Point C site neighbours an operating nuclear power station, Hinkley Point B, and one being decommissioned, Hinkley Point A, on the northern Somerset coast in South-West England.
What are the benefits of Hinkley Point C to the UK, Somerset, and local communities?
The Hinkley Point C project aims to have a positive and lasting impact on Somerset and the South West region. To that end listening to local people and ensuring we provide local benefits is at the heart of our project. The project will also benefit the UK by generating low-carbon electricity for around 6 million homes as well as stimulating long-term economic benefits.
How many power stations are you planning to build in the UK?
EDF Energy and its partners currently plan to build two power stations in the UK each with two UK-EPR nuclear reactors. They will be at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk, subject to the relevant consents, permissions and the right investment framework. We are also proposing to develop a new nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex with the UK HPR1000 reactor technology, again subject to receipt of the relevant consents and permissions.
Will there be any further consultation on HPC?
Formal consultation with the general public and statutory consultees was completed between 2009 and 2011, but we continue to engage with the wider community as part of our commitment to local and regional development. We produce regular updates and publications as well as holding community fora and meetings where we engage on our activities.
You can find more information on our Community Hub page.
We’ve heard about HPC a lot over the last few years – when did construction start?
A huge amount of progress has been made over the last few years and preliminary work for the project is well advanced.
The UK EPR™ reactor design has been approved by the UK regulators, a nuclear site licence is in place for the site and full planning permission for construction was given in March 2013.
In October 2013 we also reached an in principal agreement with the UK Government on the key commercial terms for an investment contract for Hinkley Point C. In October 2014, the European Commission approved the agreements between EDF Group and the UK Government.
The final investment decision and the start of construction took place in the second half of 2016.
To find out more about how we reached the start of construction for the Hinkley Point C see our Timeline.
How can we visit the power station?
The Hinkley Point visitor centre, located in Angel Place Shopping Centre in Bridgwater, is open for you to visit between 09.00 and 16.00 Monday to Friday, 09.00 - 13.00 on Saturdays. If you would like to book a tour of Hinkley Point B power station or for more information please contact the Visitor Centre by either telephone or e-mail.
Telephone: 0800 0969650
Occasional public tours of the Hinkley Point C site can also be arranged through the Hinkley Point visitor centre in Bridgwater, where you can find lots more information about the project. As part of the development of HPC we are also planning to build a new public information centre near the main site.
How safe is HPC?
Nuclear safety is our overriding priority and is at the forefront of what we do. Our ambition is to achieve a ‘zero harm’ safety record.
As with all of our operational nuclear power stations across the UK, the design basis for Hinkley Point C ensures that the proposed plant is secure against natural hazards that have a frequency of less than one in 10,000 years. These hazards include tides, storm surges and tsunami as isolated and in-combination events.
To protect the Hinkley Point C station from such events, the platform level of the site is set at 14.0 metres above sea level, behind a sea wall with a crest level of 13.5 metres. Sea level rise which could result from future climate change has also been considered and an allowance has been made to cover the full 60 year operating lifetime of the new station.
Each of our nuclear site stages regular exercises to demonstrate to our regulator the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) that we have appropriate arrangements for dealing with an emergency. The exercises are performed against challenging scenarios agreed with the ONR, and also involve other regulatory bodies, the emergency services, local authorities and central Government.
Further information on the safety of nuclear power can be found within our safety pages.
How will you deal with the waste from Hinkley Point C?
The new EPR™ reactor design marks significant progress towards sustainability. The reactor has been designed to optimise the use of nuclear fuel and to minimise the production of long-lived high-level radioactive wastes. Thanks to its large core, surrounded by a neutron reflector, a maximum number of neutrons contribute to energy generation in the core. This means that the EPR™ reactor uses less uranium and produces less long-lived radioactive wastes compared with water reactors in operation today.
The UK needs to deliver a long term solution for all its radioactive waste, past and future and not just from the civil nuclear industry but from other industries as well. The UK Government’s solution is the construction of a geological storage facility. The Government’s Managing Radioactive Waste Safely programme is currently working to identify a suitable site for a geological disposal facility to house the UK’s spent fuel and intermediate level waste safely and securely.
As a developer of new nuclear power stations, we will play our part by putting in place robust plans to manage the waste and spent fuel that we produce, by decommissioning our plants responsibly and by setting aside adequate funds for these plans. For these reasons, we have established a Funded Decommissioning Programme and are proud to take full responsibility for our power station from beginning to end.
How can we stay updated on project progress?
Our Main Site Neighbourhood Forum, Community Forum and Transport Forum help us to keep in touch with our closest neighbours, providing regular updates on progress.
More information, including the notes and supporting documents for these meetings as well as regular community newsletters and a monthly Look Ahead bulletin are available via the Hinkley Point C Community Hub.
Have you considered local tourism in your plans?
Yes and we’re working closely with Visit Somerset and Visit Exmoor to ensure tourism continues to thrive in this part of the South West. As part of the Hinkley Point C power station we are also building a new Public Information Centre that will itself help to draw tourists to the local area.
How will you ensure that your workers behave responsibly?
Many of our workers will come from the surrounding towns and villages and all our workers will be required to sign a Code of Conduct. The Code clearly sets out our expectations of how workers conduct themselves in the local community and we will take action if this code is broken.
We also work closely with the local police force and have funded a local Beat Team to ensure the Police have appropriate resource whilst Hinkley Point C gets built.
Where will your workers come from?
At this stage, until all of the main contracts have been signed for the project, we do not know exactly where all our workers will come from. Encouraging local people to fully benefit from Hinkley Point C is extremely important to us and we are already employing many local people.
Workers coming from further afield and potentially abroad will always have to hold the necessary permissions to work in the UK, pass strict security vetting procedures and sign our worker code of conduct.
How will you look after the health and wellbeing of your workers?
The health and safety of our workforce is paramount on the Hinkley Point C project. We have established comprehensive and industry leading medical provision on-site for our workers which includes access to a dedicated on-site GP.
The on-site Hinkley Health service helps to ensure local services are not stretched. To ensure that local health provision is supported during the construction of the power station we have also allocated funds to the local authorities to provide additional services as necessary.
How will you get all the construction materials to the site?
We plan to bring as much of the material in by sea as we can. We are building a temporary jetty, through which at least 80% of our construction aggregates will arrive at site. We are also refurbishing an old wharf at Combwich for larger loads that cannot easily be transported by road.
Some materials will have to be transported to site by road. Vehicle movements on the local road network are strictly controlled through planning conditions. We have already invested over £16 million to improve local roads making them permanently better.
How are you managing your deliveries by road?
Vehicle movements on the local road network are strictly controlled through planning conditions and a lot is being done to minimise disruption. We are building a Freight Management Centre at Junction 23 of the M5 and another at Junction 24 to tightly control the movement of lorries to the Hinkley Point C site.
Deliveries will also be managed by a sophisticated electronic Delivery Management System. Cameras will track the vehicles to ensure that deliveries are only made via our prescribed routes and avoid the busiest times of day.
How are you improving road infrastructure and safety in and around Bridgwater?
We have already invested over £16 million into the improvement of local roads in order to increase capacity and make them safer.
Works include highway widening and junction improvements on the route via J24 through Bridgwater, two new roundabout to improve safety at accident blackspots and a new bypass around the village of Cannington. In 2017 we plan to make significant improvements to the route via J23 through Bridgwater.
How will you transport workers to site?
There will be very little car parking available at the Hinkley Point C site itself. So almost all workers will leave their vehicles at one of the four Park and Ride Sites we will be developing. From there they will travel to the site by bus. There will also be buses to transport workers from the campus accommodation in Bridgwater and routes that will pick up those living in the local area. Shift times will be planned so that that the start and finish times do not coincide with the busiest times of day in Bridgwater.
Where will the workers live?
Approximately one third of our workforce will live in their own homes in the local area, one third will live in our purpose built campuses, either on site or in Bridgwater, and one third will live in the private rented sector.
Further detail on the Accommodation Strategy can be found within our Development Consent Order.
If you have a property or room that you are looking to rent to some of the Hinkley Point C workforce please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0800 096 7360.
How will the Hinkley Point C project affect the local housing market?
Around 5600 people will be employed on the Hinkley Point C site at peak, and overall 25,000 employment opportunities will be created over the construction period. To help manage these numbers, we produced an accommodation strategy as part of our development consent order.
To help manage affects on the private rented market we have established a £7.5 million Housing Fund that local authorities are using to increase accommodation capacity locally.
For more information please contact us.
How is the project benefiting the young people of Somerset?
At Hinkley Point C we are building far more than just a power station – we will be leaving the local community with skills and opportunities for future generations.
The engineers and scientists of tomorrow are in the classrooms of today so we have developed the “Inspire” Education Programme to prepare young Somerset people for the job opportunities that will come with the construction and operation of Hinkley Point C.
It aims to inspire young people to continue to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and in doing so build a sustainable workforce of the future through a pipeline from education to skills and into future long term employment.
You can find more information on our Inspire web pages.
How will you ensure that local people are best placed to take full advantage of the employment opportunities that Hinkley Point C will bring to the area?
EDF Energy is committed to ensuring Somerset people fully benefit from the skills and employment opportunities the project will bring. During its planned 60 year operating life, Hinkley Point C will bring around £40 million into the local economy every year. The construction and operation of Hinkley Point C will provide a significant boost to local employment opportunities and we aim to source as much of our workforce as possible from the local area.
EDF Energy is committed to creating a long-term sustainable workforce at Hinkley Point C and are working with our principal contractors and training partners to re-train and up-skill people throughout the life of the project. In total over £11 million has been committed to improve training and skills provision in the local area.
We have also set up an employment brokerage in partnership with Job Centre Plus. It is designed to place local people into positions both on the Hinkley Point C project and into other local business and employment opportunities to develop their skills and experience.
How can I find a job on the Hinkley Point C Project?
EDF Energy has set up the Hinkley Point C Jobs service in partnership with Job Centre Plus. It places local people into positions both on the Hinkley Point C project and into other local employment opportunities in order to develop their skills and experience.
If you are interested in Hinkley Point C employment opportunities please visit our jobs page.
If you are interested in working for EDF Energy, please go to our careers page.
How can my company get involved in the Hinkley Point C Supply Chain?
The Hinkley Point C project is providing huge opportunities and financial benefits to the local, regional and national supply chain.
EDF Energy is working closely with the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and Into-Somerset, the County Council’s inward investment organisation, to ensure that opportunities for local businesses are maximised throughout the construction and operation of the new nuclear power station.
To register your business and find out more please visit our supply chain page.
Q1. Why are the works needed?
The Drove junctions with Bristol Road and Wylds Road are key busy junctions in Bridgwater’s highway network, but congestion occurs regularly, especially at peak times. The improvement of these junctions was proposed by EDF Energy as part of the case to support the delivery of the Hinkley Point C (HPC) new nuclear power station.
The Junction improvements will permanently increase capacity on both of the junctions to improve travel times.
Specifically the works will increase the width of the right turn lane from Bristol Road into the Drove and improve the junction for pedestrians and cyclists at the Bristol Road and the Drove junction. At the Wylds Road and the Drove junction the traffic lights will be upgraded with a new, intelligent system (much like those now at Taunton Road / Broadway, The Clink and Penel Orlieu), a left-turn slip road will be provided from Western Way into Wylds Road and the junction will be improved for pedestrian and cyclists.
These schemes, and Bridgwater road works in general, are being programmed strategically to minimise traffic congestion and delays across the town. We’ve been working hard with Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council to programme in the works at a time, and in a manner, which keeps the town moving.
The works at the junction will start in early 2017 and we are confident they will be complete by late summer.
Q3. How will the traffic be managed?
The works will require lane closures to ensure they can be undertaken safely whilst maintaining traffic flows. Traffic engineers have confirmed the most appropriate, safest and efficient way of doing this is through installing a temporary one way system around Wylds Road and Bristol Road.
This traffic management will ensure that all businesses in the area remain accessible and can be safely accessed whilst works are taking place.
The one way system is explained in this map.
Q4. How long will the works take?
Work starts in early 2017, we plan to begin operating the temporary one way system from 22 January. We’re confident the improvements will be complete by late summer.
Q5. Where has funding come from?
The total cost of the work is being met by EDF Energy. We've already invested over £16 million in upgrading roads in Somerset, this work is the latest phase of improvements.
Q6. What else can be done to minimise the impact of the works?
We as one of the key users of the highway network in the town are very conscious of the need to keep traffic flowing. We continually review our own HGV operations and the movement of vehicles through the town in order to help keep the town moving.
Q7. How have local residents and businesses been consulted and how will they be kept informed?
A Drop in session was undertaken in November 2016 to explain the plans, gather feedback and answer questions.
We’ve already met and briefed many businesses neighbouring the sites. We will continue to meet anyone interested and will supply regular updates.
As we make progress we will continue to take feedback on-board and, where appropriate, refinements to our plans will be made.
If you have concerns or suggestions please do contact us via any of the methods below:
EDF Energy Visitor Centre: Angel Place Shopping Centre, Bridgwater, TA6 3TQ
Open: 9:30am-4pm Mon-Fri, 9:30am-1pm on Saturday
Free phone: 0800 0969650
Q8. What assistance is available for businesses affected by the improvements?
The traffic management will ensure that all businesses in the area can be safely accessed whilst works are taking place.
Sedgemoor District Council have published here, a summary of the opportunities and support available specifically for businesses in Sedgemoor .
Once the work has started, and if there is evidence that your business is affected, then there are options. Sedgemoor District Council can guide you on some of the possibilities, please contact their economic development team via , email@example.com for assistance.
Q9. Why can’t the works to the junctions be undertaken at night?
Residents live close to the site and so it’s not viable to regularly work through the night. It is also safer to carry out the work during the day. Some work may be carried out outside normal working hours.
Q10. Who is undertaking the works?
Somerset Infrastructure Alliance is the organisation contracted to deliver the works on behalf of EDF Energy. The Somerset Infrastructure Alliance is a joint venture between local firms that's successfully won Hinkley Point C contracts. As the alliance is made up of local firms they already have a good understanding of the area and the needs of Bridgwater.
Q11. What are the working hours?
Standard working hours are between 7:00am – 7:00pm Mon – Fri and between 7:00am and 1:00pm on a Saturday, but there may be some activity outside of these hours for site set up and shut down. There may be a need for some overnight works, for example, to carry out resurfacing. Neighbours, businesses and other stakeholders will be notified in advance as and when these works will need to take place.
Q12 . Why not build a bypass around Bridgwater?
The Government carefully assessed the evidence for a Northern Bridgwater Bypass when they approved Hinkley Point C plans. They concluded a bypass around Bridgwater was not necessary.