Hinkley Point C: Inside the building site with as many workers as a town

There are now 10,000 people working onsite at the construction of a new nuclear power station in Somerset.

Hinkley Point C began construction in full in 2017 and is due to start generating electricity in 2027.

It is set to power 6 million homes and is billed as being 'crucial to helping Britain achieve net zero and a stronger energy security'.

The huge number of workers reflects the emergence of the power station from the ground up, with two reactor buildings set to dominate the Somerset skyline for years to come.

Soon a 245-tonne steel roof will be lifted onto the first reactor building at the site. The reactor itself arrived on site earlier this year and will be installed next year.

Simon Parsons, Nuclear Island Area Director, said: "In just a few months it will be lifted on top of Unit One by Big Carl, the world's largest land-based crane. There's a real sense of anticipation and excitement and we've been building for this moment since the project began."

Once the dome is lifted the first reactor building will be weatherproof, allowing mechanical and electrical teams to get to work.

The first nuclear reactor building has emerged from the ground and will have its roof installed within the coming months Credit: EDF Energy

Many of the people on site are locally-based and part of a wide range of apprenticeships.

Rebecca Digby is a welding apprentice. She said: "I did it completely on a whim. I come from Yeovil, which is quite local, but everyone goes into aerospace and I wanted to do something different and I thought building power stations - that sounds pretty cool."

Honey Bulled, a project controls apprentice, said: "Being from Bridgwater, I've always lived locally and always been interested in what it was all about. So when I started back in 2021 it's obviously really developed."

As well as construction, training on a simulator is taking place for those who will run the power station when it is operational.

There is also set to be considerable change over the next six months. Simon Parsons said: "There's a lot of excitement and anticipation about those milestones.

"Putting the lid, putting a dome, on top of the reactor building is a really big moment for us. But fundamentally the people on the site are key to us. We can't build it without the great trades which come from all over the UK, all over Europe as well, to help us build HPC."

The huge number of jobs here means that the size of the nuclear industry’s workforce in the south west is second only to the north west of England.

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: "There's more than £5 billion being spent in the local and regional economy as a result of what's happening at Hinkley.

"You will see there that there are people working on site in a range of different capacities, all contributing to what is the biggest construction site in Europe, which is a really important part of helping us get to a net zero energy secure future for the country."