New figures show that 116 businesses from across Wales have won contracts to help build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, worth £150 million.
The project is one of the largest construction projects currently underway in Europe, and is the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK for almost 30 years.
With direct spending into Wales already totalling more than £150 million, the work ranges from the 200,000 tonnes of Welsh steel being supplied to site, together with component manufacturing, specialist civil engineering and pumping components.
The largest single group of employees at Hinkley Point C come from Wales – over 1,000 Welsh residents have worked on the project so far, and 64% of the project’s total spend will be spent with UK suppliers. Energy company EDF has launched a new website, which includes an interactive map showing regional spending. To learn more, click here.
From Bridgend to Deganwy, some of the many contracts include;
- Express Reinforcements, based in Neath, are supplying some 200,000 tonnes of reinforcing steel, using steel
produced by Celsa Steel in Cardiff in a contract worth c.£100 million.
- Vessco Engineering, based in Bridgend, are manufacturing large pressure vessels and processing equipment for
the new power station in a contract worth over £15 million.
- Siltbuster, based in Newport, is supplying important water filtration systems across the construction site in a
contract worth over £2 million.
- Forest Traffic Services, based in Newport, are part of a local Infrastructure Alliance providing services to the
HPC site in a contract worth more than £2.5 million.
Stuart Crooks, Hinkley Point C Managing Director said:
“For many companies in Wales, investment from Hinkley Point C is helping them gain new skills and expertise – boosting their competitiveness and the nation’s industrial
capacity. British businesses supporting new nuclear range from big to many small and medium enterprises. Their
appetite to succeed, innovate and deliver to a very high quality is impressive.”
However, while the investment is very welcome. another aspect of the project has caused some controversy in Wales, with widespread objections over a decision which saw the company dispose of waste mud from the site just off the waters of Cardiff Bay in 2018. The dumping was met with public protests and EDF are now in pre-application discussions with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) about dredging and disposing of a further 600,000 m3 of material in 2021.
EDF have submitted further plans for sampling and testing the sediment at the Hinkley Point C site which will need to be approved by NRW before a formal application can be made – and NRW has launched a six-week consultation with specialists and the public which will close on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
Michael Evans, head of evidence, knowledge and advice for NRW, said they welcomed the public to respond via their public page:
“This is an opportunity for people to raise concerns or provide us with important, relevant information on the company’s sampling plan.
“We will consider all responses to the consultation to help us decide whether the number, location and depth of samples taken, what is measured and how they will test the sediment, complies with international guidance”.
Despite the controversy, there is little doubt that Welsh businesses are benefiting from the investment from Hinckley Point C. Vessco Engineering, based in Bridgend, is a typical example. The company specialises in the manufacture of pressure vessels and process equipment and it has already secured a range of contracts totalling almost £15 million from the Hinckley C project.
The components will be fabricated in Bridgend and are the largest and most complex items produced in the area for many decades. The company say the financial stability has allowed Vessco to almost double its workforce whilst investing in future technical developments and the upskilling of its own workforce, including taking on additional apprentices to support the construction project.
Julian Vance-Daniel, Managing Director at Vessco, explains;
“The contract means stability for 4 to 5 years as an absolute minimum. We also expect it to be the platform for our future growth in the nuclear industry and it will help us to grow in other industries as well.”