Hinkley Point C nuclear power station delayed and will cost an additional £3bn | Point Hinkley C

The new nuclear power station under construction at Hinkley Point in Somerset will start operating a year later than planned and will cost an additional £3billion, it has been announced.

French energy company EDF has published the findings of a review of the cost and schedule of the power plant taking into account the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The delay means the first reactor unit is now expected to start operating in June 2027, a year later than planned, with estimated costs of between £25-26bn. EDF said this would not affect the cost to UK consumers or taxpayers.

A reduction in the number of workers permitted at the Somerset site due to pandemic safety measures resulted in the loss of more than half a million critical work days in 2020 and 2021, EDF said.

Stuart Crooks, the general manager of Hinkley Point C, said in a message on Thursday evening: “You will all have suffered the severe impact of Covid-19 on the project over the past two years. You will recall that we suddenly had to reduce the staff on site from over 5,000 to around 1,500.

“For many months after that, we remained well below our plan for the number of sites, as our ability to fully increase activity was thwarted by the need to take action to prevent infection.

“Keeping workers safe through social distancing in canteens, buses and at work meant we had no choice but to become less efficient. In civil construction alone, having fewer people than expected means we lost over half a million critical work days in 2020 and 2021.

“Our supply chain was also badly affected and still is today. In April 2020, 180 suppliers were completely closed, but even in February this year, more than 60 suppliers were operating with reduced productivity due to of Covid.

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Crooks said that in January 2021 EDF had estimated a Covid impact of six months, assuming an imminent return to normal conditions, but the second wave of Covid-19 stopped that.

“In total, the start date for Unit 1 has moved back 18 months since construction began in 2016. In such a complex project, it would not be credible to say that we can measure exactly how far this is. due to the impact of Covid-19. , but it is significantly longer than 12 months.

He said other factors had affected timing and costs
“Running the site longer and less efficiently during the pandemic also increases costs. We are facing the same problems as other major projects with UK-wide supply and labor shortages and inflation.

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Edward L. Robinett