Bouygues Construction announced this week that a subsidiary, Bouygues Travaux Publics, a consortium with the British construction firm Laing O'Rourke, had signed contracts with French utility EDF for the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactors in the United Kingdom. The contract's value for the company comes to at least $1.81 billion, Bouygues said.
The project has been viewed as a watershed moment for the industry in Britain – tipping the scales towards nuclear power in an era in which renewables has received most of the political beneficence. It received the go-ahead nod from the British government in September 2016 after securing financial obligations from China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). CGN agreed to a 33.5 percent stake in the project, which is expected to cost about $24.5 billion to build. The Hinkley Point C site in Somersert, England, is to be the home of two AREVA-designed European Pressurized Reactors (EPR), which are expected to produce 7 percent of Britain's electricity – enough to power 5 million homes..
It is expected that construction will involve some 3,500 site workers at peak periods, Bouygues announced.
The contract relies on the company's experience with several “second-generation” nuclear plants in France – Bugey, Saint-Alban, Chooz-- as well as the civil engineering work for the EPR nuclear plant in Olkiluoto, Finland, which was awarded in 2005 and followed up by the EPR project in Flamanville, France.
The Hinkley Point C project will benefit from the experience gained on these two projects, and it will see a number of key innovations implemented, such as digital modeling, the company said.
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