EDF Energy has announced a number of new preferred bidders for its proposed nuclear power station, Hinkley Point C.
The bidders - mainly comprised of joint ventures (JVs) designed to unite industry experience and knowledge - will be responsible for much of the equipment installation requirements at the power station.
Infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty were the big winners, being appointed as the preferred bidder for the power station’s £460 million electrical package.
The project will boost industrial stamina in the UK and kick-start the new nuclear programme
EDF CEO Vincent de Rivaz
The company will work alongside NG Bailey in a 50/50 JV.
Meanwhile, a number of pumps manufacturers have also been selected to supply pumps that will help control the nuclear plant’s feedwater and cooling water systems.
In total, the contracts amount to £1.3 billion worth of deals, with over 60% now expected to be won by UK firms.
EDF Energy said work to ready the Hinkley Point C project for a final investment decision has taken ”a further step forward” with the announcement of more preferred bidders.
The company’s chief executive officer Vincent de Rivaz touted the deals as a “significant boost” to the UK’s nuclear supply chain and its skills pipeline.
“Hinkley Point C will be at the forefront of the revitalisation of the UK’s industrial and skills base, and we have worked hard to build a robust supply chain to support new nuclear in the UK,” de Rivaz said.
“The project will boost industrial stamina in the UK and kick-start the new nuclear programme. Experience gained at Hinkley Point will help firms be successful in nuclear projects around the world,” he added.
Industry leaders have also welcomed the announcement, recognising its wider-reaching implications.
“Hinkley Point will set the ball rolling for the UK’s nuclear new build programme, putting us on the right path to achieving a secure and sustainable energy mix,” said John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry.
“It represents a real opportunity for growth, with the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs for people – not just in the local community, but up and down the whole country,” he said.
Once developed, Hinkley Point C will generate 3.2GW of power via two Areva 1,630MW European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs), while also being home to two turbine halls, cooling water infrastructure, and waste and fuel facilities including storage.
The first of the reactors is expected to come online in 2023 and will be adjacent to the existing Hinkley Point A power station, which is currently being decommissioned, and Hinkley Point B power station, which is operational.
The development of Hinkley Point C, however, has not been without its issues.
An investigation that began in December 2013 questioned the plant’s operators over the possible breaching of EU competition rules.
In that instance, the European Commission, who led the investigation, eventually cleared the plant of any wrongdoing in October last year.
Essentially, the investigation centred on EU rules over state aid, examining whether the UK government’s price support of the project through its Contract for Difference (CfD) mechanism and its state guarantee for the project’s debt financing gave EDF an unfair advantage over competitors in the market.
In order to receive approval, the Department of Energy and Climate Change was forced to agree a number of revisions to its deal with EDF, most notably increasing the amount of profit it could claw back from Hinkley Point C’s operations and taking a share in any savings made on construction costs.