Planning and managing nuclear new build, Hinkley Point C

ICE recently hosted a networking evening with EDF Energy to discuss project planning for Hinkley Point C, the first nuclear power station in the UK in over a generation and the largest infrastructure project of the decade.

Going nuclear: Hinkley Point C will benefit from developing nuclear power plants in France
Going nuclear: Hinkley Point C will benefit from developing nuclear power plants in France

The evening featured presentations from David Speight, EDF Energy’s Head of Civil Construction, Nuclear New Build and Sarah Williamson, Laing O’Rourke Technical Director. The presentations were key to answering some of the pressing questions the industry has regarding the project.

How can we make sure the project is delivered on cost and on time?

David Speight highlighted that previous experience of developing nuclear power plants in France meant that EDF was able to formulate a strong set of project values and culture based on lessons learned.

These values all stem from an overriding focus on quality and aim to ensure that humility, respect, solidarity, positivity and clarity permeate through the workforce. In order to facilitate this, each meeting starts with a safety message that focuses on previous examples of accidents onsite.

This approach has seen some success as in December 2016 the Hinkley Point construction team (HPC) was able to confirm that they had one million man hours without lost time for injury.

How can HPC mitigate making construction errors onsite?

Sarah Williamson contextualised the enormity of the project by explaining that the joint venture between Bouygues and Laing O’Rourke (BYLOR) will have to produce 50 million bent bars, equivalent to the number of grass blades on three tennis courts.

That’s why it’s imperative there are no mistakes onsite as it cannot be built twice. To limit construction errors in the first instance, BYLOR decided designs need to be 3D, clash free and buildable onsite. In order to achieve this they have been employing 3D modelling allowing designers to build each component of the plant virtually as many times as they need to, before creating a design they can guarantee will be successful onsite.

This approach will not only account for lowering onsite errors only but also increase efficiency rates and reduce the likelihood of health and safety issues.

What are the next steps in the project?

Both speakers stressed that in less than 50 days they will be laying the first concrete of the first nuclear new build of this generation, already a critical project milestone.

In 2017 they also have the following objectives to complete:

  • start of HPC site accommodation campus
  • first safety-related concrete used in gallery
  • completion of east welfare building
  • handover of civil works design studies for reactor pre-stressing gallery
  • handover of civil works design studies for pumping station raft
  • start installation of seawater cooling pipes

EDF and Laing O’Rourke mentioned the importance of limiting errors. For further knowledge on health and safety see the Management of Contractors as part of our health and safety series.

The EDF evening was part of ICE’s Energy, Resilience and Climate Change campaign.

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