Engineering firms unite for Hinkley Point C

27 September 2018

Altrad, Balfour Beatty Bailey, Cavendish Nuclear and Doosan Babcock have joined forces to officially form the MEH Joint Venture to deliver the erection sequence for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant construction site in Somerset, England.

An artist's impression of Hinkley Point C (Image: EDF Energy)

Under a deal agreed in October 2015, China General Nuclear will take a 33.5% stake in EDF Energy's project to construct Hinkley Point C. Consisting of two EPRs, it will be the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in almost 20 years and will provide about 7% of that country's electricity. In June, unit 1 of the Taishan nuclear power plant in China became the world's first EPR to achieve grid connection and power generation. It is expected to enter commercial operation later this year.

The formation of the new joint venture took place on site with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the individual companies and Hinkley Point C. MEH refers to mechanical, electrical and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning contractors.

Working as a single entity, the approach is an example of innovation based on the experience gained at other nuclear construction projects, Balfour Beatty said today.

Richard Bowman, interim managing director of MEH Joint Venture, said the initiative brings together all tier one MEH and support services contractors to work in partnership with the Hinkley Point C project. "It represents the start of a new way of working," he said.

Combined, the MEH Joint Venture operates over 13 nuclear licensed sites in the UK with 20,000 directly employed nuclear experts and over 65 years of experience.

Stuart Crooks, managing director of Hinkley Point C, said: "This new approach is a major example of innovation at Hinkley Point C which puts the interests of the whole project above those of any individual contractor. That co-ordination is good for contractors, pooling skills and expertise for everyone’s benefit. It also boosts UK industrial capacity and presents an opportunity to create jobs and skills by creating specialist pipework manufacturing in Britain."

CGN UK CEO Zheng Dongshan said the joint venture will "deliver huge benefits" to the delivery of the Hinkley Point C project, and to the UK nuclear industry as a whole. He added: "We are deeply committed to this project and to new nuclear more generally in this country, and as part of that commitment we will continue to share the learning of CGN and CNPEC from the Taishan project and our wider experience as we develop industrial partnerships for the long term in the UK."

Separately, Serco has announced that it has been awarded a contract by EDF Energy to provide fire and rescue services during the construction phase of Hinkley Point C. The service will start on 1 October and has a total contract value of about GBP6.5 million (USD8.5 million) over six years.

Meanwhile, Spanish company Equipos Nucleares (Ensa) has been awarded a contract to manufacture two pressurisers for France's Framatome, the primary supplier to the Hinkley Point C project.

Cantabrian-based Ensa is also responsible for the design, manufacture and supply of different tanks that will be embedded in the civil works - 14 different components for the two EPR units, each of which contains a pressurised tank, a tank for the reactor cooling system and a volume control tank, as well as four accumulators and two rings; for the support and settlement of the reactor.

"Supplying these components in the United Kingdom is a strong endorsement of Ensa's trajectory as a multi-system manufacturer, with different products and its internationalisation, as well as an extensive experience that allows it to offer customised services adapted to each client and situation," Ensa said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News