Contingencies are in place at Hinkley Point C in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the project’s delivery director has revealed.
At a press event held on one of Europe’s largest construction sites, EDF’s Nigel Cann said the client is working to ensure the movement of materials won’t impact on schedules.
He told Construction News: “We follow events carefully and we plan for most of the outcomes. Do we precisely know what a no-deal Brexit would look like? I’m not sure.
“We’ve presumed there will be a period of uncertainty and a period of difficulty in moving some materials and equipment around, so we’ve tried to make sure we’ve got some margin in next year.
“We’ve got a warehouse at junction 24 on the M5 and we’ve got some storage capability, and we look to bring some stuff in early so it’s there and it can’t impact on schedules.”
The programme and construction delivery director said the steps taken are “sensible” and “as much as is reasonable at the moment”.
The multi-national project, led by EDF, a subsidiary of the French state-owned energy supplier, has put a focus on using local supplies where possible but does use some quarried material from the French Alps in order to make low-heat cement at its on-site batching plant.
Construction News revealed last week that developers, contractors and specialists are all stockpiling materials ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU.
Mr Cann said on Friday that he was “jubilant” as the company had hit all its milestones for 2018.
He is looking toward the topping out in the last quarter of 2021, and aiming to complete the project in 2025, but it is a project which has been beset by previous delays.
“People say to me when are you going to finish – well at the moment we’re on track. Can I provide a crystal ball that will tell me what’s going to happen in five years? No.
“We do, quite rightly, get a lot of scrutiny from all our stakeholders and we’re very transparent. As of December 2018 we’re on track. If we have an issue we’ll push back.”
A major concrete pour for the foundation raft of the nuclear island was completed last week, with teams working round-the-clock for 40 hours.
The director also said that around 80 per cent of procurement on the project is complete, with 30 equipment contracts still to be signed and “most of them” at preferred bidder stage.
A major mechanical, electrical and heating and ventilation contract remains for some £2bn worth of work, with the site aiming to use an alliance of contractors for its delivery.
The work will involve the installation of complex cabling and pipework in the power station’s 2,500 rooms.
He said that those wanting to work at Hinkley must engage with its “high levels of safety, high levels of quality”.
“It’s really important that we get value for our shareholders and deliver this when the country needs it, in the middle of the 2020s, to deliver low carbon energy.
“If you’re going to join this project you’re going to leave richer – not only financially but also from a skills perspective as well,” he added.