Hinkley Point C project spending with South West businesses has hit £3.2bn, more than twice the initial target of £1.5bn which was set when the nuclear power scheme began.
The latest socio-economic report for the project says it will also hire 1,700 people in the next year, with the new jobs including roles in construction, welding, electrical and equipment installation and wider support roles.
However according to The Telegraph, EDF has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic could cause major delays to the nuclear power plant. Talks are continuing between EDF and the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC) – the government-owned company that acts as counterparty on clean energy subsidy contracts.
The LCCC said it is “actively working with Hinkley Point C to establish the impact the pandemic has had, in accordance with the terms of [its contract]”.
It added: “We anticipate that it may take some time to establish the true impact of Covid-19 on complex construction projects such as Hinkley Point, as it is still unknown when Covid-19 restrictions will cease.”
EDF notified the LCCC of the potential delay risk at Hinkley in March last year. However the company stressed that it is normal to notify contract holders of a risk at the time it occurs, in order to protect the right to make a claim in the future. It added that the June 2026 schedule for Hinkley Point C to start generating remains unchanged.
Hinkley Point C’s start date was pushed back to June 2026 in January due to a six-month delay caused by the pandemic. It was originally due to come online in 2025.
Despite the challenges, energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the latest report highlights the “tremendous benefits” Hinkley Point C is bringing to local people in Somerset and beyond.
“I was delighted to meet some of the talented apprentices already being taken on when I recently visited Hinkley Point C, and it’s clear to me that major infrastructure projects like this are fundamental to our future prosperity as we build back greener from the pandemic,” she said.
“As we work towards our world-leading climate targets and drive forward Britain’s green industrial revolution, nuclear will continue to be an important and reliable source of clean electricity, and Hinkley Point C will play a chief role in delivering that.”
Hinkley Point C managing director Stuart Crooks emphasised that the project “plays a vital role in the fight against climate change”.
He added: “This report shows the project is also able to create jobs and opportunity for British people and businesses. As we come out of the pandemic, we hope to safely increase the numbers working on the project and create jobs just as they are needed most. Our big investment in local education and training means we are ready to help people find work and start new careers.”
Department of Civil Engineering:Department of Civil Engineering – International Burch University (ibu.edu.ba)