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Machines named ahead of tunnelling

By Hinkley Point C media team | Posted April 17, 2019

Machines named ahead of tunnelling

The first of Hinkley Point C’s giant Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) is being prepared to start the colossal job of tunnelling under the seabed.

The TBMs will dig three tunnels, two intake and one outfall tunnel, for the new power station’s cooling water system. The first machine will soon be ready to bore a tunnel that will carry seawater to cool the Unit 1 reactor. Over the coming year, it will bore 3.3km under the Bristol Channel.

Before any of the 1,200-tonne TBMs start work, they have to be named according to tradition. 215 primary schools from across the county competed for the honour to choose their names. More than 70 students from the winning schools – St Peter’s First School in Williton; Stogursey Church of England Primary School; and Cannington Church of England Primary School – visited Hinkley Point C to see the winning names revealed and to have a full tour of the Hinkley Point C site.

Visit to read more about the competition’s lasting legacy.

Influential women

As the patron saint of miners is Saint Barbara, it is traditional to give boring/drilling machinery female names. After serious deliberation, the Hinkley Point C judging panel chose three inspired by some of the South West’s most influential women – Lyme Regis fossil finder Mary Anning; Bristol-born suffragette Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence; and Spitfire engineer Beatrice Shilling.

A fourth name – that of design engineer Sarah Guppy – was also chosen for the drilling kit that will mine the fish return system tunnel network.

In a lasting tribute, once the tunnels are finished, the TBMs will be stripped down, made environmentally sound and remain buried under the seabed as a time capsule dedicated to the winning schools.

Rebecca Barnes, Head Teacher of Stogursey Primary School, said: “The whole school is thrilled. It has been a wonderful experience for the children to see first-hand what is happening so close to where they live, while also being inspired by role models from the past.”

How we will be building the intake and outfall tunnels

Watch this film to learn more about how a Tunnel Boring Machine operates and how the team will construct the tunnel using segment linings.

The intake and outfall tunnel system at HPC

This film will explain the tunnel system that will be developed at Hinkley Point C. Learn now many litres of water the tunnels will transport and what happens to the Tunnel Boring Machines when they conclude their journey.