The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has hit its biggest milestone yet with the completion of the base for the first reactor.
The base, reinforced with 5,000 tonnes of Welsh steel, has been under construction by the UK-French joint venture of Bouygues-Laing O’Rourke for six months.
The latest milestone means the construction of nuclear buildings above ground can now begin.
EDF Energy said almost 4,000 people are now working at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which has a planned capacity of 3.2GW and is expected to provide around 7% of Britain’s power needs.
Nuclear Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “This is a huge achievement for Hinkley Point C and a major milestone for the UK’s nuclear new build industry, which – as a low carbon electricity source – is key to meeting our ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050.
“The project will not only power nearly six million homes, it will add an enormous boost to the local and national economy, delivering over 25,000 new jobs and securing long term, well-paid employment – a key step in delivering clean growth as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”
EDF Energy CEO Simone Rossi added Hinkley Point C’s progress is “good news for anyone concerned about the climate change crisis”.
He said: “Its reliable low carbon power will be essential for a future with now unabated coal and gas and a large expansion of renewable power. The innovation at Hinkley Point C sets up the opportunity to reduce costs for consumers for a near identical power station at Sizewell C in Suffolk.”