Tunnelling work has started at the UK’s Hinkley Point C Power Station following the launch of TBM, Mary. Mary will install the 38,000 concrete segments required to support the three 7m diameter underground marine tunnels at up to 33m below the seabed of the Bristol Channel. The tunnels consist of two x 3.5km long Intake Tunnels, and one x 1.8km long Outfall Tunnel. Once complete, the tunnels will form a critical part of Hinkley Point C’s cooling system and will have the capacity to transfer 120,000 litres of water per second.
In a first for the UK and made at Balfour Beatty’s innovative manufacturing facility in Avonmouth, pre-fabricated nuclear-grade concrete segments will be constructed to ensure that each of the three Herrenknecht TBMs being used to bore the tunnels is able to deliver significant efficiency savings whilst excavating over 11 tonnes of rock per minute.
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Alistair Geddes, said: “This is a significant milestone, critical to the successful delivery of the first new nuclear power station in the UK for over 20 years. Having installed the first permanent segment ahead of schedule, this milestone is testament to Balfour Beatty’s expertise and to the collaborative approach required to deliver a project of this scale and complexity.”
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.”
The new power station will supply safe, secure low carbon electricity to around 6 million homes.
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.