EDF Energy Somerset Chamber of Commerce SWMAS Business West

GTE – “We’re very proud to be working on HPC”

June 18, 2019

Global Tunnelling Experts (GTE) are world leaders in their field, currently working in 48 different countries on more than 120 diverse projects, making them the perfect partner for the Hinkley Point C project.

Four teams from GTE will be operating the three massive tunnel boring machines for Balfour Beatty who are constructing the two intake tunnels and one outfall tunnel at site. The tunnels will stretch 3.5km and 1.8km, respectively, out in to the Bristol Channel, carrying cooling water to and from the new nuclear power station.

Some 38,000 concrete segments will form concrete rings for the inside of the tunnels once earth has been excavated by GTE’s skilled teams.

GTE is no stranger to complex projects, though, and has a world-renowned reputation for excellence, with more than 6,000 skilled workers delivering huge infrastructure projects throughout the world.

GTE’s UK headquarters is in Portishead, making them a local business even though the nature of their work takes them all over the world.

The company’s management team worked hard, as always, to secure the contract at Hinkley Point C, attending networking events, liaising with the Hinkley Supply Chain Team and meeting key people to ensure they were a crucial part of the UK’s first new nuclear power station for a generation.

In fact, GTE’s teams can be found working on a diverse range of vitally-important infrastructure projects all over the world – although they’re particularly proud to be working at HPC.

The parts for the tunnel boring machines were shipped to the South West from Germany and will be assembled on-site aided by cranes. They operate by using a large rotating cutting wheel at the front to break away materials from the tunnel face. The loosened earth is then transferred to a conveyor belt system inside the machine.

In all, the machines will excavate 1.2 million tonnes of soil – enough to fill almost 1,500 international squash courts. The largest of the machines weighs in at around 1,200 tonnes, or the equivalent of 1,000 family saloon cars and is the length of around nine passenger coaches placed end-to-end.

All the soil removed from the tunnels is being kept on site and landscaped. At points, the tunnels will be big enough to drive a Mini car through and will supply 120,000 litres of water per second to the power station.

But despite having vast experience working on complex infrastructure projects, the GTE team has had to adapt even further to comply with all aspects of the new nuclear programme.

GTE always puts safety first but working on a nuclear safety -focused site has added another dimension, with all staff working at Hinkley Point C undergoing additional training and preparation.

But GTE has taken it all in its stride, as all staff are agile and professional, able to adapt to the requirements of each job and with the skills and expertise to match. GTE also ensures all workers are PAYE giving workers additional peace of mind and job security.

Currently, there are around 120 GTE staff at site and local recruitment has played an important part in ensuring they are ready for the challenges that lay ahead.

Kevin Browning, GTE director, said: “We’re only as good as the people we employ and we always use the one team approach. We see GTE as a family unit, our employees are joining the family and that is paramount to our success.

“It gives us continuity and means we are completely invested in making all our projects a success. Our focus is always on local recruitment and local investment and we’re looking forward to working on HPC.”

More information about GTE is available online at http://www.global-tunnelling-experts.com/.


EDF Energy Heart of SW West of England LEP North Somerset Welsh Government