Five years after getting the go-ahead, the number of people across Britain working on the Hinkley Point C power station has reached 22,000. The growing number includes 6,300 on site, compared to just 1,500 at the height of the pandemic last year.
Final contracts for Hinkley Point C were signed on September 29, 2016. Since then, 3,600 British companies have won contracts on the project. This includes more than 400 businesses in the North of England where spending so far has already topped £1.2bn. The firms include many large and small companies like Blackburn-based Assystem , Darchem on Teesside or Kaefer in Jarrow. By the end of the project £18bn will have been spent with British businesses.
The nuclear power station will be essential in helping Britain achieve net zero emissions by providing reliable low carbon electricity to meet 7% of the country’s needs, working alongside wind and solar generation in place of fossil fuels like coal and gas.
- The next prefabricated 17m high section of the first reactor building is complete and ready to be lifted into place by Big Carl
- Work to build the 16m high floor for the first turbine and generator is under way, ready for the world’s most powerful “Arabelle” turbine which arrives later this year. Each turbine can produce more than 3% of the nation’s electricity, enough for more than 3m homes
- 3.5 miles of cooling tunnels have been completed and six 5,000 tonne water intake heads are ready for installation
- Work to install the 230 miles of pipes and 5,500 miles of cables is underway
- Training for the first cohort of power station operators has begun
- The country’s first “T-pylons” have been installed for the station’s 35-mile grid connection
Jobs and skills
- Around 22,000 people in Britain are now working on the project – with suppliers and contractors in every part of the country
- During construction, 74,000 people in Britain are due to work on the project
- Numbers on site are due to increase to around 8,500 in the next 18 months
- 800 apprentices have been trained so far
Hinkley Point C has worked with trades unions and colleges to fill skills shortages and bring new people into the construction and nuclear industries, with new training centres for welders, electricians, construction workers and nuclear specialists
Hinkley Point C and its suppliers are using factory construction and innovation to increase quality and productivity – with big gains between the first unit and unit two. They are ready to replicate these benefits with the near identical design for Sizewell C in Suffolk.
Managing Director Stuart Crooks said: “Hinkley Point C is essential in the fight against climate change and for Britain’s energy security. It is delivering on its promise of boosting British jobs, skills and industry right across the country.
“COVID-19 has challenged the project and its suppliers and I am proud of the enormous efforts made to keep the site safe and moving ahead. As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, we can now create more jobs as we step up construction and manufacturing for the next phase of the project.”
Unite National Officer for Construction, Jerry Swain, said: “Hinkley Point is the most significant construction project in a generation, as it is fundamental to the UK’s future energy policy. It is essential that the lessons learnt and the skills developed at Hinkley are not allowed to be lost in the sands of time. To avoid this, the government must urgently make a decision to support the development of Sizewell C, so workers with their skills and experience can bridge across to this project, which is also essential to meet the UK’s future energy needs.”
Charlotte Childs, GMB National Officer for Construction and Engineering, said: ”GMB are proud to have been involved in HPC from the start, lobbying the government at the time to ensure that HPC became a reality. We have worked with EDF to make HPC not only a project delivered by highly skilled, unionised workers but to ensure a legacy of jobs and training that creates the next generation of engineering and construction workers.
“The UK energy market needs new nuclear projects to ensure supply stability through to and beyond its net zero targets. GMB are unapologetic advocates for new nuclear projects like Hinkley Point C and the upcoming Sizewell C. A just transition needs to have nuclear in the mix and these projects benefit our UK workforce and the communities they are built beside.”