Construction of the UK’s first nuclear power station for over a quarter of a century is under way after many years of negotiations. So what is going on at Hinkley Point C? Can you still build a power station when you’ve forgotten how? At this very moment beneath Somerset, hundreds of workers are boring a series of seven-metre wide tunnels that will channel millions of gallons of water to and from the Severn Estuary. Totalling 11km in length, they will be almost as long and as wide as the iconic Mont Blanc tunnel linking France and Italy. Three massive boring machines and hundreds of workers will shift hundreds of thousands of tonnes of material and yet the project has barely received a mention in the press. The tunnel’s creation has been overshadowed by its intended role of supplying cooling water to the Hinkley Point C power station – the biggest, and arguably most controversial, civil-engineering project of the new millennium. After years of tortuous contract negotiations and public lobbying, on 29 September 2016 the government finally gave EDF and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear (CGN) the green light to begin building the new plant, thereby commencing almost a decade of work at the site.
Engineering & Technology 17th March 2017 read more »