CONSTRUCTION of the second reactor at Hinkley C passed a major milestone with the lifting of the first part of the massive steel containment liner on Sunday.

Lifted by the world’s largest crane ‘Big Carl’, just nine months after the same lift for the first reactor, construction of the 170-tonne “liner cup” was 30 per cent quicker than the identical part on Unit 1.

The liner cup is the base for the reactor’s steel containment which is being prefabricated in five parts and lifted into place by Big Carl.

This innovation means welding can take place in covered bunkers protected from weather, helping to improve quality and efficiency.

This is a learning from the construction of other EPR projects. The liner cup for HPC’s second unit was built in 39 days versus 57 for the first.

The cup is one of more than 500 prefabricated steel and concrete elements that Big Carl will lift, including whole sections of buildings, walls and pre-cast air ducts. The heaviest items weigh in at 1,600 tonnes.

Nigel Cann, HPC construction delivery director, said: “This milestone shows how replication and innovation are driving efficiency at Hinkley C as we build our second identical reactor on site. In turn that will benefit our planned third and fourth units at Sizewell C in Suffolk.

"Hitting the schedule during coronavirus is a tribute to the workforce that has had to adapt to new ways of working to ensure the safety of the site and the community around it.”