In a first for the UK and made at Balfour Beatty’s manufacturing facility in Avonmouth, pre-fabricated nuclear-grade concrete segments will be constructed to ensure that each of the three tunnel boring machines is able to deliver significant efficiency savings whilst excavating over 11 tonnes of rock per minute.
The machines will be able to reach a maximum speed of 120mm per minute. The 1200 tonne machine will be run by 12 operators including a pilot, with supporting teams at the surface. The team includes industry experts along with apprentices and graduate students playing a vital role.
Rob Jordan, Hinkley Point C construction director said: “The start of tunnelling at Hinkley Point C represents a hidden but vitally important milestone in the construction of the UK's first new nuclear power station in a generation. The achievement underlines the continued progress being made to ensure that Hinkley Point C will be ready to supply the UK with the reliable low carbon electricity that it needs to combat climate change.”
UK-based Balfour Beatty is contracted to three major packages of works at Hinkley Point C. It was appointed to deliver the electrical works package in a joint venture in 2015, the tunnelling and marine package in 2017 and most recently the 400kV overhead line project on behalf of National Grid in 2019.
As well as tackling climate change by providing decades of reliable, low carbon electricity, Hinkley aims to provide lasting economic and industrial benefits. These range from increasing local employment, to the development of a sustainable regional supply chain and the advancement of new training facilities and qualifications.