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Five in the briefs frame for Hinkley nuclear ground works

Britain’s new nuclear programme is poised to take a major step forward next week with tenders due in for the earthworks contract for the first new plant planned at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Five contractors are believed to be in the running for the £30M deal. They include a Balfour Beatty/Vinci joint venture, a Bam Nuttall/Kier/URS joint venture, a Laing O’Rourke/Ferrovial joint venture. Carillion and Sir Robert McAlpine are also bidding independently.

Morgan Est was also invited to bid but is believed to have opted out. Last year 10 sites were approved for new nuclear power stations, seven of which already house nuclear plants.

Hinkley site owner EDF Energy has nominated an area of land surrounding the two existing power stations at the site for the new facility. The site will be known as Hinkley Point C.

“We will work closely with the local chambers of commerce and authorities to understand the capability and capacity of the companies.”

Bachy Soletanche

The earthworks contract involves creating a standard platform for the power station on the Severn Estuary. Work also involves building diaphragm walls, sea walls and shafts for water intake and outlet tunnels. Bachy confirmed it would be working for the Balfour Beatty/Vinci team on the project.

EDF Energy said that it hoped to work closely with local contractors during the construction programme.

“Locally to the sites, we will work closely with the local chambers of commerce and authorities to understand the capability and capacity of the companies.

“It is very important to us that we work closely with suppliers and contractors local to the sites,” it said. Enabling work is due to start by 2011 and the power station is due to be operational by 2017.

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