Construction Focus – An Energy Giant, behind the scenes visit to Hinkley Point B

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Construction Focus – An Energy Giant, behind the scenes visit to Hinkley Point B

The recent C2S Best Practice visit to Hinkley Point B, a fully functional Nuclear Power Station was a resounding success

All About Safety, Process, Policies and Culture

Every year we visit EDF Energy, be it HQ in Gloucestershire looking at CSR, Employee Engagement or Internal and External Communication or an onsite behind the scenes tour to Hinkley Point C or Hinkley Point B. Annually we take the opportunity to learn from this global giant and take their business intelligence, innovations and insights to help drive our business forward. Last year at Hinkley Point C we had a private on site bus tour to see the first phase, ground works, of the biggest civil engineering project in Europe and this year we had a behind the scenes guided tour looking at the complexities of running a live power station, the workings of the nuclear reactors, the engineering and safety polices in place to run this giant project

Facts about EDF Energy

  • One of the UK’s largest energy companies
  • Employs over 15,000 People
  • Generates around 20% of UK’s electricity
  • Provides up to half of the U’s low-carbon generated electricity
  • Operates 8 nuclear power stations and 34 wind farms, as well as gas and coal power plants
  • Supplies electricity and gas to around 5.5million business and residential customers
  • 1 in 5 of the lights powered in the UK is powered by EDF Energy


Facts about Hinkley Point Sites

Hinkley Point A currently in decommissioning

Hinkley Point B

  • Hinkley Point B  built between 1967 & 1975
  • Started generating in 1976
  • 2 x advanced Gas Cooled reactors
  • 2 x turbines (955 MW capacity)
  • Supplies enough electricity to power 1.4 million households (2% of UK’s electricity)
  • Carbon Dioxide saved – equivalent to 2.8 million cars
  • Currently due to start decommissioning in 2025
  • Hinkley Point B employs 545 staff, 240 contract partners and 36 apprentices on this site

Hinkley Point C

  • 2 x EPR Reactors
  • Capable of supplying electricity to 5 million households (7% of UK’s electricity
  • Will avoid 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually
  • 20,000 to 25,000 jobs for construction
  • 900 operational staff

The biggest thing that came across on our visit was the safety policies in place on this site. It’s all about people and safety. The staff are exceptionally well trained, with a safety first culture like no other I have seen. C2S members were given a safety briefing before entering the site and then escorted round by a number of very well informed staff, with exceptional knowledge of the history, capabilities, functionality and policies of this giant project.

The lifespan on Hinkley point B has been extended from 2023 to 2025 and they are hoping to carry this on further to 2030. This will depend on many things but largely  the graphite which is the core material used in the reactors. This is inspected annually along with boiler inspections taking place every 3 years. This is such a highly regulated sector to ensure safety first at all times with continuous checking, analysing and monitoring at the highest level. Constant analysing of local food sources, fish from the sea, meat from local farmers and produce from the fields to ensure levels are constantly monitored and recorded by the Environment Agency, Food Standards Agency and Office of Nuclear Regulations.

The process used  to produce nuclear power is highly regulated, built near the sea to use the sea water as part of the cooling process. A reactor is used for heat to boil the water, water creates the steam and the steam flows through the steam turbines and turns the generator to create the energy. Steam then gets condensed back to water, 60% of the heat produced goes back into the sea as water again making it 40% efficient – which is very high for this type of process.

The legacy EDF Energy are leaving behind is a great example to us all, how they have engaged the local community, are educating young people, creating jobs, careers, collaborating, stimulating growth and bringing knowledge and expertise to the region.

An exceptional visit, thank you to all EDF Energy staff and we’re looking forward to our visit to see how Hinkley Point C is progressing next year.