January 17, 2018
New Photos: EDF boss says Hinkley Point C is 'on track' for 2025

The new boss of EDF says he's confident the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant near Burnham-On-Sea will be producing electricity by 2025.

The firm's CEO, Simone Rossi, visited the construction site on Wednesday (January 17th) to see the progress so far on what is now Europe's largest building site.

Mr Rossi says despite the scale of the project, the proposed timescale is still a realistic target.

"We’ve moved more than four million cubic metres of earth – that’s like digging a hole two and a half times as big as the Millennium stadium in Cardiff. We are already installing the huge sea watercooling pipes," he said.

"One of the main focuses at site is what we call J-zero – when we start building the power station’s structures above ground."

"That can only happen once the foundations are in place for the first unit. All our 2018 goals will help us to achieve this major milestone on schedule by June 2019."

"Beyond J-zero, our goal is to put the first unit into service by the end of 2025."

"That said, like any major infrastructure project, we know we will face challenges and it is our job to deal with them. We will never compromise on safety and quality."

Despite still being years away from completion, Mr Rossi says the project is already "making a real difference to the economy and people".

"4,000 businesses in the South West are registered to work on Hinkley Point C and by 2020, there will be £200m of spending each year in the local economy."

"Money spent with companies like heavy engineering specialists Blackhill Engineering from Exeter or Somerset Larder which is already providing 65,000 meals a month," he added.

"Success at Hinkley Point C will also be possible because of the entrepreneurial spirit and dedication of the businesses, councils, chambers of Commerce and colleges of Somerset."

Nuclear energy has always been a controversial topic but Mr Rossi says it is vital to help Britain fulfil its carbon reduction targets.

"It makes sense to have as many renewables as we practically can, in places where the wind is strongest like Scotland and offshore where Britain is a world leader."

"But wind has it limits. With growing numbers of wind turbines in the system, it matters when the wind doesn’t blow or even when it blows too hard and more power is generated than is needed."

"As an Italian, I know that Britain is not one of sunniest places on the planet – especially in January. I am told we get as much sun as one of the US’s largest states."

He added: "Gas is a good choice for flexible back-up power and that’s why we need gas power in our future energy mix. However gas is not a low carbon fuel."

"Nuclear power in Britain provides large volumes of low carbon electricity when it is needed – even on a dark, cold and still winter’s night."

"There is a clear logic to the case for having reliable low carbon nuclear in our future energy mix at a competitive price."

The decision to go ahead with the Hinkley Point project came after more than a decade of delays and uncertainty.

However, since then the work on the structure has been fast and Rossi says Hinkley Point C will be a huge success story for British energy.

"My top priority is to honour the trust that Britain has put in EDF to deliver Hinkley Point C. We will deliver Hinkley Point C. But the job doesn’t stop there," he says.


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