Here are answers to some of the more common questions we receive about the Hinkley Point C project.
What is HPC?
EDF Energy plans to build two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which will make up the first in a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK.
Where is the proposed power station?
Hinkley Point C will sit alongside an operating nuclear power station, Hinkley Point B, and one being decommissioned, Hinkley Point A, on the northern Somerset coast in the south-west of 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 whole of the South West. 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 5 million homes as well as long term economic benefits.
How many power stations are you planning to build in the UK?
EDF Energy currently has plans to build two power stations in the UK each with two nuclear reactors. They will be at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk, subject to the relevant consents and permission, the right investment framework and a final investment decision.
Will there be any further consultation on HPC?
Even though formal consultation with the general public and statutory consultees was completed between 2009 and 2011, 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 a number of community forums and meetings where we discuss the proposals and 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 is construction going to start?
A huge amount of progress has been made over the last few years and preliminary work for the project is already 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 as well as confirmation that the project will benefit from the Government’s Infrastructure Guarantee Scheme under terms and conditions to be agreed upon. In October 2014, the European Commission approved the agreements between EDF Group and the UK Government.
Finalisation of these agreements and the start of construction are subject to a final investment decision by EDF Group. The Company and the UK Government are now working together to address the remaining steps which must be taken before that decision can be made, which includes the waste transfer contract, a part of the Funded Decommissioning Programme, being ratified.
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. 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: 01278 429225 / 01278 428988
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. At EDF Energy we instill a culture that every single person working for our company has a direct or indirect impact on nuclear safety. We place nuclear safety at the forefront of what we do, and 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 operational nuclear power stations 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 find a long term solution for the radioactive waste accumulated over the last decades – 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 responsibility 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 helpts 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. Later in 2016 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 email@example.com 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 25000 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 £7.5million 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 in order 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 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 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 will potentially provide 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 proposed Hinkley Point C new nuclear power station.
To register your business and find out more please see our supply chain page.