JUST six months after the contracts for Hinkley C were signed, sealed and delivered, the first batch of concrete has successfully been poured.

EDF Energy, who is building the new nuclear reactor near Cannington in Somerset, said the move was a 'key milestone' in the build.

The concrete has been poured for the power station galleries.

The galleries are a network of connected tunnels which will carry cabling and pipes.

They will be some of the first permanent structures on the site.

A spokesperson for EDF said: "The concrete pour is a great achievement for the project team and followed the first consent for construction granted by the independent regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

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"EDF Energy is committed to delivering Hinkley Point C (HPC) to the highest standards of safety and quality while working continuously to learn and improve as the project moves forward."

Construction of the building for the  first reactor is scheduled to start in 2019 when concrete will be poured for the first time to make the reactor platform.

Today EDF Energy has also released new images and video showing the scale of construction which now involves 1,600 workers on site every day.

Three million tonnes of concrete and 230,000 tonnes of steel reinforcement will be used in construction. 

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Other progress includes:

• Start of construction of a 500m temporary jetty in the Bristol Channel allowing 80 per cent of the aggregate to be brought in by sea rather than by road. Two pile-driving machines are drilling holes in the bedrock and have so far installed 18 piles. The jetty is due for completion in 2018. Every shipload of materials will take the equivalent of 250 lorry-loads off the local roads.

• Construction of a store which can contain 57,000 tonnes of aggregate. Work will soon begin on the conveyor systems to carry the aggregate around the site.

• Excavation of 3 million cubic metres of soil and rock to prepare the ground for the power station buildings. Almost 6 million cubic metres will be excavated in total.

• Construction of the first two tower cranes. The larger of the two cranes is 40 metres high with a 60m jib and has a lifting capacity of 16 tonnes. More than 50 tower cranes will be on site once building work reaches its peak.

• Work to build 15 on-site accommodation buildings for more than 500 workers has begun. Manufacturing of the first of the 510 units is underway at Caledonian Modular in Newark, Nottinghamshire. The company has doubled its workforce to complete the order.

• Good progress is being made on the sea wall which will provide a barrier between the power station and the coastline. Construction teams will need to excavate 165,000m3 of material in order to build it.

• A spray batching plant has been built to produce a finer quality of concrete which will be sprayed to secure slopes at the site.

Bridgwater Mercury: Hinkley C team concrete pour

Hinkley Point C project director, Philippe Bordarier said: “Pouring the concrete for the first permanent structure of HPC is a significant milestone.

"It is the outcome of many years of preparation and hard work from all our teams and supply chain across the UK and France.

"It demonstrates our ability to undertake the serious responsibility of nuclear power plant construction.

"While we reflect on this great achievement we will continue to look for opportunities to improve, learn and teach others, embracing the values of the HPC project.”

EDF Energy’s managing director for New Nuclear Build, Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson said: “The regulator’s consent for construction of the first safety-related structure at Hinkley Point C shows our commitment to the highest standards of quality and safety.

"We’re making good progress on many fronts as a result of the successful collaboration between all our teams.

"Our construction partners BYLOR and Kier Bam have played a particularly important role in getting us to this point.

"We are very proud to be building the first new nuclear power station in a generation which will provide the UK with reliable, affordable, low carbon electricity for the future.”

The company say that the build of HPC will provide 25,000 job opportunities and 1,000 apprenticeships with many of the jobs going to people living in Somerset.