French utility firm claims progress being made on Hinkley power station

French utility firm EDF has said it has awarded “around £200m” of supply chain contracts for the construction of its planned new nuclear reactor at Hinkley in Somerset.

However, the announcement, made by EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivas at the firm’s annual supply chain conference, includes the selection as preferred bidder of Kier and Bam Nuttall for the £100m+ preliminary works contract, revealed by Building in March.

The announcement is the first time EDF has confirmed the story, and the firm said it will create an estimated 350 UK jobs from next year. Tasks will include excavation, earthworks, terracing, installation of construction site infrastructure and formation of roads and networks to allow main construction to begin.

In addition EDF said it will set up a £15m national training centre in Somerset, and that it had made an agreement with reactor designer Areva in relation to the early design work for the main reactor systems. This will allow Areva to begin the work in January.

EDF said that £200m of contracts had been announced, but did not give any further detail of construction contracts beyond the Kier/Bam award. It said up to 20,000 jobs would be created by the ultimate main build, but no details were given about the timing for that contract.

De Rivas said: “The contracts we are announcing today will secure over 500 jobs and provide an immediate economic boost. This is just the beginning. Our project will inject billions of pounds into the economy, revitalise entire sectors of industry and support tens of thousands of jobs.

“Furthermore, our £15m national training centre in Somerset will help a new generation of young people develop the skills they need for a bright future and a long term career. UK nuclear new build is on track and gaining momentum.”

Treasury minister Lord Sassoon said: “The reliable provision of energy is critical to the country’s prosperity and nuclear power has a vital role to play in that vision. We welcome EDF Energy’s appetite for investment in the UK’s nuclear programme. In particular, EDF Energy’s £15m investment in the national training centre in Somerset will help create a highly skilled and competitive workforce: this is good news for the UK.”