Walking in the waves at Hinkley Point C Power Station

Progress on the £18bn project to install two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C is well underway. The site beside the Bristol channel is due to be in service in 2025, and WaveWalker 1 has been on site to support the initial stages of the development.

In order to deliver the necessary construction materials to the Hinkley site, a 500m long jetty is being built which will allow 80% of aggregates to be delivered via sea transport. The new jetty is being built in a very challenging environment, as the Bristol Channel has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. However, the terrain and tidal conditions meant that traditional floating rigs and self-elevating working platforms (SEWPs) were not suitable.

This is where WaveWalker 1 provided the ideal, innovative solution. The 8-legged, self-contained walking jack-up was able to provide a secure, effective platform from which to construct the jetty. Walking a total of 8km during the project, WaveWalker 1 was perfectly suited to navigate the 13m tides that rise and fall in the channel.

WaveWalker 1 undertook the pile installations from the top of the beach down to the intertidal area.

Time and tide really did wait for no man. The independent walking ability meant that work was able to continue around the clock, regardless of the state of the tide, as the vessel could walk on land up the beach making the relocation easy for the installation of the piles at the top of the beach. On site there are areas with a protected type of seaweed – Corallina Officinalis. WaveWalker 1 was able to work carefully around the foreshore stepping around the ecological sensitive areas.

For this project we were able to fit the vessel with af ull drilling spread, pile gate, and 32 man accommodation units, effectively transforming the platform into a walking construction island. It’s been fantastic to have been part of this exciting development, and to see WaveWalker 1 supporting the future of energy production in the UK.