EDF hits Hinkley Point milestone despite coronavirus restrictions

PARIS, June 1 (Reuters) - EDF has reached a key milestone in its British Hinkley Point C nuclear plant project, as engineers completed the second reactor base on schedule in spite of coronavirus restrictions, the French power giant and Chinese partner CGN said on Monday.

Completion of the 49,000-tonne base, a reinforced concrete platform supporting the reactor’s central “nuclear island”, is an encouraging signal for the 19.6 billion pound ($24.2 billion) project, which has suffered from delays and cost overruns.

Techniques refined during construction of the first reactor base at the site in western England helped it to stay on schedule despite reduced staffing and lockdowns in Britain and France.

Those processes would also benefit a proposed follow-on reactor project at Sizewell C on England’s east coast, the companies said on Monday.

Hinkley Point C will have a capacity of 3.2 gigawatts, covering about 7% of British power demand, or 6 million households, when it is due to come on line in late 2025.

$1 = 0.8103 pounds Reporting by Benjamin Mallet Writing by Forrest Crellin and Laurence Frost Editing by Giles Elgood