Tunnel boring at Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Plant

The nuclear plant will be critical in assisting Britain in achieving net-zero emissions by supplying reliable low carbon electricity to meet 7% of the country’s demands, working in tandem with wind and solar generation to replace fossil fuels like gas and coal. Contractors working on the UK’s largest energy project have completed several achievements while overcoming significant obstacles. Record-breaking lifts, tunnelling headway, and massive concrete pours are among them.

Tunnelling the HPC

Tunnel Boring MachinesContinue On Intake And Outfall Tunnels

At Hinkley Point C, three huge tunnel boring machines and one smaller tunnelling kit will be in operation. Two of three offshore tunnels for the power station’s cooling water system are now complete

The intake tunnels will be formed by the two largest machines, which will carry cold water from the Bristol Channel into the nuclear plant, and one outfall tunnel will return the water. The fish return system will be formed by excavating a tunnel with the other smaller kit.

The first off-shore tunnel needed for the power station’s cooling-water system has been completed at the UK’s Hinkley Point C construction site in Somerset, marking a significant milestone. On December 9, 2020, the first TBM, Mary, completed her 3.5-kilometre voyage beneath the Bristol Channel to complete intake tunnel 1. The tunnel is made up of over 2,300 rings that require about 14,000 parts to complete. The crew then grouted the gap behind each ring after it was fitted. Throughout the tunnel, approximately 12,000m3 of grout was utilised.

The largest of the TBMs, Emmeline, has also finished her 1.8-kilometre journey excavating the outfall tunnel, with work on the last intake tunnel continuing.

Latest progress at Hinkley Point C

The next prefab 17-meter-high component of the first reactor building is finished and ready for“Big Carl”, the world’s largest crane, to lift into place.

The 16-meter-high floor for the first turbine and generator is being built now, in preparation for the arrival later this year of the world’s most powerful ‘Arabelle’ turbine. Each turbine can provide more than 3% of the country’s electricity, enough to power over three million homes.

The installation of the 230 miles of pipes and 5,500 miles of cabling has begun.

The first group of power station employees have begun their training.

For the station’s 35-mile grid link, the country’s first ‘T-pylons’ have been erected.

Transforge (UK) Ltd

Discover the comprehensive manufacturing component solutions for the tunnel boring industry.

Transforge (UK) Ltdhas become an established manufacturer of bored tunnel components for civil, mechanical and electrical engineers throughout the whole tunnel excavation and underground infrastructure tunnelling and fit-out process.

We’ve designed and manufactured a range of equipment and components for tunnelling projects including:

  • Utility cable and pipe supports
  • Slurry pipe brackets and accessories
  • Ventilation supports
  • Emergency walkway systems and platforms
  • Track, Sleepers and accessories
  • Shaft Steelwork
  • Structural steelwork to BSEN1090 EXC 3. (Execution Class 3)


If you would like to get in touch about a tunnelling project or tunnelling components, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Tel: +44 (0)1733 249260

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