The first permanent concrete has been poured at the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear scheme.
Client EDF revealed that the material was in place for the galleries – a series of tunnels to carry cabling and pipes – at the Somerset power station.
EDF released images and details of progress on the vast site just days after it emerged that a UN committee had called on the UK to suspend work on Hinkley Point C until the full environmental impact of the plant could be assessed.
The energy giant said 1,600 workers were on the Somerset site every day.
Construction of Hinkley Point C – approved by the government last summer – will involve three million tonnes of concrete and 230,000 tonnes of steel.
Progress to date includes the start of construction of a temporary jetty in the Bristol Channel; excavation of 3m cu m of soil and rock; construction of the first two tower cranes, the larger of which is 40 m high; and early work to build 15 on-site buildings to accomodate more than 500 workers.
Hinkley Point C project director Philippe Bordarier said the galleries concrete pour was a “significant milestone”.
“It is the outcome of many years of preparation and hard work from all our teams and supply chain across the UK and France,” he said. “It demonstrates our ability to undertake the serious responsibility of nuclear power plant construction.”
A joint venture of Bouygues Travaux Publics and Laing O’Rourke this year signed the multi-billion-pound contracts to build the facilities that will house Hinkley Point C’s two EPR nuclear reactors.
A Kier / Bam Nuttall JV was appointed for enabling works.
EDF Energy managing director for new nuclear build Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson said: “We’re making good progress on many fronts as a result of the successful collaboration between all our teams.
“Our construction partners BYLOR and Kier Bam have played a particularly important role in getting us to this point.”