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Balfour Beatty successfully lowers final head structure into position at Hinkley Point C

Balfour Beatty, alongside EDF, has today marked a first of its kind milestone at Britain’s landmark nuclear power station, Hinkley Point C, as it successfully lowers the last of six head structures 25-metres to the bottom of the Bristol Channel.

This significant feat of engineering saw the final 5,000 tonne concrete structure towed out 30 nautical miles into the Channel to meet two floating heavy lift cranes “Gulliver” and “Rambiz” – each the size of a football pitch with combined lifting capacity of 7,300 tonnes. The two cranes then worked in tandem to place the cooling-water head structure onto the seabed.

The six head structures, which will cap the tunnels supplying Hinkley Point C’s two nuclear reactors with cooling water, were manufactured by Balfour Beatty and have been completed to the precise nuclear grade specifications.

Now in position, the six head structures will be connected to the five miles of underground tunnels, allowing 120,000 litres of sea water to circulate every second.

Roger Frost, Project Director at Balfour Beatty, said: “This is truly another incredible achievement for everyone at Balfour Beatty. When you think about the construction and infrastructure industry, you often think of buildings rising from the ground above you – but sometimes, it is what is beneath the surface, that can really make the biggest impact.

“The successful lowering of the head structures is testament to Balfour Beatty’s unique capability in heavy civil engineering as well as our approach to tackling each complex operations with unrivalled skill and precision.”

Ian Beaumont, Marine Work Project Director at Hinkley Point C, said: “The successful installation of all six marine heads completes a summer of complex offshore operations in the most challenging of environments. Not only is it a significant milestone for the Hinkley Point C project, it also represents an incredible feat of engineering by the teams that have worked in close collaboration to design, construct and place with such precision these massive structures.”

On completion, Hinkley Point C will supply safe, secure, low carbon electricity to around six million homes.

Watch the video below to see how the final head structure is lowered into position.

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