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Gloucestershire Business News

Hinkley Point C five years on, five more to go

Five years after getting the go-ahead, the number of people across Britain - including Gloucestershire - working on the Hinkley Point C power station has reached 22,000.

The project is on track to finish at the end of 2026. Initially costed at £18 billion, that figure has risen to £23 billion.

The work's being carried out by the French-owned EDF Energy with a headquarters in Gloucester and the Chinese state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group.

The growing number of people working on the project includes 6,300 on site, compared to just 1,500 at the height of Covid 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.

The nuclear power station is seen as a key element in the UK's strategy to achieve 'net zero carbon emissions' by providing reliable low carbon electricity to meet 7% of the country's needs, alongside wind and solar generation in place of coal and gas.

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."

The next prefabricated 17m high section of the first reactor building is complete and ready to be lifted into place.

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 three million homes.

Already, 3.5 miles of cooling tunnels have been completed and six 5,000 tonne water intake heads are ready for installation.

Jerry Swain, Unite National Officer for Construction, 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."

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