Blog: Behind the scenes at Hinkley Point C
Written by Mark Lewis, HPC Site Operations Manager
You’ll have heard quite a bit about Hinkley Point C being one of the biggest construction projects in Europe.
But what does that mean out there on the site itself and for the residents around us in Somerset?
- How do we get our staff, machinery and supplies smoothly to site?
- And how do we do all this in such a remote part of Somerset, whilst ensuring we minimise any inconvenience and disruption to those around us?
It’s a big challenge but one that we’re ready for.
My team and I are managing a complex construction operation
Of course the people of West Somerset have seen nuclear power stations built before and this will be the third nuclear power station on the site.
Its ten-year construction will be a complicated operation involving thousands of people living and working together at the main development site.
I am proud to be part of the team that will make this happen.
That includes building temporary facilities to support the construction of the power station itself – things like campus accommodation for our workers, park and ride facilities to get them to site, and a jetty via which we can unload construction materials delivered by sea.
The Hinkley Point C site will be the workplace of both the large team of skilled people building it and the heavy machinery, vehicles, components and supplies that go towards constructing the power station.
A good example is the concrete we’ll need. In total, the new power station will require some 3 million tonnes - about 75 times more than was used to build the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The vast majority of this will be brought onto site via a temporary jetty stretching out into the Bristol Channel. We have chosen to do this so that local roads won’t have to be used to bring the materials in by HGVs.
There’s no doubt the project will be hard work so our teams will need somewhere to lay their heads and relax after a long day’s work.
So we’re going to build campuses on-site and in Bridgwater for some of our team to stay in. As well as really good quality accommodation, our Campuses will have sports pitches and other leisure facilities available for the teams to use during their time off.
Getting our people to site
We definitely can’t have everyone driving to site. There won’t be enough room to park for starters, and as a local resident I’m as keen as anyone to keep the impact on our roads to an absolute minimum. Having workers close by on the Campuses saves putting extra cars on local roads, reduces the risk of road accidents and helps the site run smoothly.
But not everyone will be staying on-site, so we have to plan how to get our teams here.
We are going to build park and rides – grouping everyone together on to busses to cut the number of cars driving on local roads.
So we’re working with our local communities to decide the best routes and to plan our construction shifts to avoid peak traffic periods.
When it comes to traffic management it’s not just about people – a lot of materials will need to be brought to the site as well.
In some cases, we can stockpile materials in advance. In others, it’s about working with our neighbours to reduce deliveries during the school run and rush hours.
We also, quite rightly, have very strict limits on the overall numbers of vehicles we can put onto the roads and the routes they take to site.
A lot of the time we’ll avoid roads altogether.
As I said, we’re building a jetty on-site that will be able to take delivery of at least eighty per cent of the aggregates (materials used in cement) we need. It means we can take 125,000 HGVs off the roads which will make a big difference.
We will also use the sea to bring in the really large pieces of kit we need for the reactor itself – equipment such as steam generators and pressure vessels. These will be unloaded at the refurbished wharf at Combwich.
1.4 million eggs and 1.2 million tea bags a year!
Another challenge is how to feed all of our workers – at peak periods, there will be many thousands of people on-site at one time. So we’re busy planning how to feed then all.
At peak of construction they’ll be tucking away 1.4million eggs and using 1.2million tea bags a year. So we’re working with the Somerset Larder, a joint venture between six Somerset suppliers. They are already in place at site feeding us every day – including a great Christmas dinner last year!
And then we come to where everyone will work. All these people on the site will need offices and compounds to work in, and plant to process the materials – so we’re also building these.
And like any other work places, these will need electricity, water – and of course IT. So we’re putting all these services in place too.
When I say ‘we’ - I don’t just mean EDF Energy
We’re working side-by-side with our partners, including our contractors who have seconded team members into HPC.
We are also continuing to work closely with our local communities.
Local people have been following events closely since we first proposed our plans back in 2009, and have been neighbours with nuclear power since the 1950s.
We’ll go on listening to and working with our local neighbours, and you can get in touch whenever you need to.
On a project of this scale, no one person or organisation has all the best ideas. So we’re all working together to find the right answers.
That way, we’ll deliver a site that works for our workers, that works for our neighbours, and gets the job done.
For more details about our hotline, community newsletter and drop-in meetings, visit our Community Hub.