Efficiencies in the making

How building twin nuclear reactors provides a unique opportunity for the Hinkley Point C project to continually learn.    

Lessons learnt during the construction of the project’s first nuclear reactor are helping the team on site to build the second one quicker while improving right-first-time quality.

That’s also good news for major infrastructure projects of the future – especially Hinkley Point C’s proposed sister station at Sizewell in Suffolk.

Getting things right first time

The Hinkley Point C team has produced more than 45,000 concrete segments, which will be lining the three tunnels under the Bristol Channel that supply water for the crucial cooling system. These must be made to exacting nuclear industry quality standards. Water then goes into the giant cooling water circuit outlet pipes, which carry water around the site. Works included placing, grouting and welding 353 pipes, fixing 1,950 tonnes of steel and pouring 19,500m3 of concrete. Thanks to previous learnings, pipes for Reactor Two were completed two months faster than those on Reactor One.

Gathering speed on the reactor buildings

The pace was picked up on the second ring of the reactor building in Reactor One – in fact, the time taken per metre of weld was 36% quicker than the first ring. 

This saving all adds up when you consider that the prefabricated steel ring has a diameter of 47 metres, is more than 17 metres high and requires 934 metres of welds! 

Over on Reactor Two, a major concrete pour for the foundations of the reactor building was completed three months quicker than the same one for Reactor One. Valuable lessons learned from the previous pour helped the team achieve the milestone quicker this time. In total, 2,240m3 of concrete was poured during a 36-hour continuous pour.

Our belief that we can do things better drives innovation at Hinkley Point C. As we build the first UK EPR, we are learning and improving all the time. This is leading to improved productivity as we build Hinkley Point C’s second, identical reactor. We will use that experience to underpin our plans for two more identical UK reactors at Sizewell C.

Stuart Crooks, Managing Director, Hinkley Point C