Somerset project now expected to unlock a potential £80bn nuclear new build pipeline

Firms involved in Hinkley Point C are rapidly ramping up their workforces after the £18bn EDF project was finally given the green light by the government.

Contractors and consultants are also beating a path to work with fellow nuclear clients Horizon and NuGen, as industry insiders predicted the Hinkley deal would unlock a potential £80bn nuclear new build pipeline.

Firms gearing up include contractors Laing O’Rourke, Bouygues and Costain and consultants Mace and Gleeds.

The plant in Somerset – set to generate 7% of the UK’s electricity upon completion in 2025 – will create 25,000 construction jobs over its lifeline, with the workforce set to peak at 5,600 people.

On the contracting side, Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues are understood to be rapidly recruiting to deliver their £2bn main civil engineering works, while marine works contractor Costain is believed to be trebling its Hinkley workforce by the end of the year. Site preparation works by Kier and Bam Nuttall under a £203m contract are already well under way, with 350 Kier workers on site alone.

We will be approximately doubling the number of our staff at Hinkley

Mace spokesperson

On the consulting side, client advisers Mace and Gleeds are both planning to double their Hinkley workforces. Mace is understood to be doubling its Hinkley staff from 90 to around 180 within months, while Gleeds expects to double staff at its nearby Bristol and Gloucester offices within three years as a direct result of the Hinkley green light, generating up to 100 new jobs.

One source on the project told Building: “We’ve got to get a lot of people here quickly to get it moving. At the start of last week, you couldn’t get anyone to work here - it was almost impossible. Potential employees are now starting to believe it’s actually happening.”

A Mace spokesperson said: “We will be rapidly increasing the number of our staff at Hinkley, approximately doubling the number, so that the delivery of this nationally important scheme can begin in earnest.”

EDF declined to comment but said it is “currently continuing with site preparation works”.

The recruitment drive at Hinkley comes after Theresa May’s government finally approved the controversial project, but with conditions.

One condition is that the government can block any attempted future sale of EDF’s controlling stake in the plant.

Ministers also said the government would take a special “blocking” stake in all future nuclear plants after Hinkley, and all potential projects would be subjected to stricter security reviews.

Despite the stricter conditions, a nuclear source said the industry had already begun pushing Horizon and NuGen to release funds to enable work to pick up on their planned £14bn Wylfa Newydd and £10bn Moorside plants respectively - both of which are expected to come online at the same time as Hinkley.

The source said: “We’re waiting for [Wylfa and Moorside] to get funded properly, to allow them to do the engineering.”