Today (Friday 25 May), the milestone of achieving 250 apprentices working on the new nuclear site Hinkley Point C in Somerset will be recognised by the Business Secretary Greg Clark during his first visit to the site since construction work began.
Site owners, EDF, set an ambition of 1,000 apprentices working on the project during its lifespan, and today, a quarter of these places has already been fulfilled. Coupled with the new nearby nuclear college in Taunton, which opened its doors earlier this year, the future has never been brighter for trainees in the dynamic nuclear sector.
Based on the north Somerset coast in the south west of England and marking a significant milestone in the revitalisation of our nuclear power industry, Hinkley Point C is the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation and is poised to make a major contribution to the UK’s move to reduce carbon emissions through clean energy production.
Nuclear energy already provides around 20% of the UK’s electricity from existing sites - and Hinkley Point C’s future output will significantly boost this figure. The clean electricity it will generate upon completion is all part of this government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which actively encourages clean growth in business and energy production. The Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK, and sets out how we are building a Britain fit for the future – how we will help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.
Mr Clark, along with Energy Minister Richard Harrington, will meet some of the apprentices and staff working on the site, and see the significant progress that has been made. He will be joined by the French Ambassador to the UK, Jean-Pierre Jouyet.
The contract for Hinkley was signed between the UK government and EDF on 29 September 2016, and currently, there are 3,100 staff working on site every day. The site is generating work both in the region and nationally, with contracts valued at £9.4 billion now having been signed. It is also benefitting the supply chain, with the total value of the construction budget to UK companies having reached the target of 64%. EDF has also set up a £20 million Community Fund to be spent on improvements for communities most affected by the development of Hinkley Point C.
The site also remains on track to meet its next major milestone, the 2019 nuclear concrete construction target, J0 (pronounced ‘J-Zero’), the completion of the foundations for the first reactor - and energy production is expected to start in 2025.
Earlier this week, the UK signed up to join the Clean Energy Ministerial Nuclear Innovation initiative alongside Canada, Argentina, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Romania, and Poland, to share global expertise around advanced nuclear technology, further showing our commitment to the future importance of nuclear power.