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« Judd Gregg: Nuclear power presents opportunity for Trump | Main | Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, in Blow to Nuclear Power »
Wednesday
Mar292017

Hinkley Point C gets go-ahead for construction

The UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has granted its first consent for the start of construction of a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C. The consent covers the placement of the structural concrete for the first nuclear safety-related structure at the site. It does not give consent for all elements of construction.

Under a deal agreed in October 2015, China General Nuclear (CGN) will take a 33.5% stake in EDF Energy's £18 billion ($28 billion) project to construct Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, England. Consisting of two Areva-designed European Pressurised Reactors, it will be the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in almost 20 years and will provide about 7% of the country's electricity. The first unit is expected to be commissioned in 2025-2026.

Following the ONR's first consent announced today, site licensee EDF NNB Generation Company will now start the placement of the first structural concrete for the 'technical galleries' of the plant. These are a series of underground reinforced concrete structures to be located beneath the site and some above-ground structures, connecting services such as cooling water and electricity, the ONR noted.

"Our consent for the first nuclear safety concrete at Hinkley Point C is a key regulatory milestone marking start of construction of the first nuclear power station since Sizewell B in Suffolk," Mike Finnerty, deputy chief nuclear inspector and director of ONR's New Reactors Program, said. However, the start of construction of a nuclear power plant is usually taken from the date of pouring the concrete of the reactor basemat, which for Hinkley Point C 1 is scheduled for 2019. "We have carried out extensive assessment of EDF's safety case and preparedness for this important step at Hinkley Point C. However, this does not give consent for all elements of construction. We will continue to regulate NNB GenCo’s activities and have implemented a number of hold-points to ensure we have full regulatory control over the various construction and commissioning stages through to start of operation," Finnerty added.

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