PMO delivery in Hinkley Point Nuclear

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Crises are a time of intense difficulty formed by external factors which counteract the status quo. In this case with the current energy crises, MIGSO- PCUBED’s  client is at the forefront of this emergency, delivering not just one but two nuclear new builds, which are the first nuclear reactors to be built in the U.K in the past 20 years.

EDF EPR Engineering (EPR-E) is supporting the design and construction of Hinkley Point C (HPC) which will have the capacity to provide zero-carbon electricity for up to six million homes; that’s ~14% of the total  U.K. electricity requirement when the reactors are combined.

The project goal is to build two European Pressurised Water reactors (EPR’s), which are a type of Pressurised Water Reactor. These will be amongst the safest and most efficient civil nuclear power generators ever designed. The EPRs turn the nuclear energy in uranium atoms into electrical energy that can be used in homes and business. The new generation of EPR uses 17% less uranium than older technologies and crucially includes four separate safety systems to protect against hazards. This will contribute to Britain achieving Net Zero, avoiding up to 9m tonnes of CO2 per year.

Table of Contents

The Challenge in Nuclear Mega Projects

The HPC project is complex and is one of the biggest projects in Britain, covering 430 acres in Somerset, with over 22,000 workers employed throughout country working on this mega project.

It reaches further, with design teams contributing to project delivery from the UK, France and Germany. This adds to the complexity of the project, where communications can become challenging between international teams as well as managing stakeholder’s expectations. There is a need to channel communications and provide on time, clear and concise information to engineering teams as well as decision makers. This has necessitated growth for a Project Management Office team at EPR-E in Bristol, with more than 30 consultants comprising:

  • Project Controllers
  • Cost Controllers
  • Change Managers
  • Schedulers
  • Risk Managers
  • Project Managers

All of which help drive and support the multi-discipline engineering teams, ensuring they operate to their capacity and within strict safety controls.

The velocity of the programme is increasing, and command, control, and co-ordination requirements have grown. This has necessitated the relocation of engineering teams from France to the U.K. Therefore, the U.K. based PMO team has grown to support the engineering activities. The PMO has been and continues to be integral in facilitating this service transition, while maintaining and improving day-to-day delivery.

MIGSO-PCUBED were engaged as key resources within the PMO team, where centralised project schedulers and embedded project controllers have bridged the gaps between engineering and central PMO teams, facilitating and streamlining the transfer of scope.  

Establishing Effective Communication for Project Transitions

To initiate the transfer of scope there needed to be established lines of communication and an overall understanding of when each milestone needed to be delivered. MP Consultants helped with establishing these lines of communication, enhancing project relationships, and assuring requirements with the Central PMO team in France. It is essential that effective two-way communication with the schedulers, controllers, and project managers was established and maintained to effectively orchestrate the transfers.

There was a requirement for equipment contracts and the ownership of building scope to be transferred. The scope of these transfers comprised of transferring risks, budgets, deliverables, and resources all while providing effective handovers, to ensure the schedule of the project remained on track.

Our controllers, schedulers, risk and change managers were embedded within multifunctional teams within France & U.K. Through MP’s support, alongside the wider EPR-E PMO team, we identified optimisations through convergence meetings, driving change requests, assessing, and analysing budget. The work performed within EPR-E enabled scope to be monitored, measured, and controlled throughout the duration of the transfers.

MIGSO-PCUBED resources contribute significantly to the project controls activities of the Hinkley Point C project. The fact that MIGSO-PCUBED are present in both the UK and France and can provide competent and motivated consultants to all areas of PMO, is hugely beneficial and has helped facilitate the transfer of activities to the UK.

Benefits of Project Controls in Nuclear

The benefits of transitioning the services are EPR-E is enabled to be more agile in their approach to resource management across disciplines. This increases the degree of control applied to business processes by having most of the service co-located within the U.K. In addition, this supports the engineering teams to establish and develop strong relationships with suppliers and clients, increasing the efficiency of decision making and collaboration across the project. The combination of this has resulted in the successful achievement and completion of the detailed design phase of the project (December 2023).

MP consultants are valued by EPR-E as they are continuing to assist by providing expertise in monitoring and controlling the transferred scope. Our embedded team provided support during the transfer process to EPR-E through managing changes in budget, risk, and project deliverables of the functional teams from France to U.K. This contributed to the delivery of a significant number of transfers to the U.K. in 2023. As MP are uniquely focused on PMO delivery, our consultants were able to apply project controls methodologies during the transfers of scope.

Furthermore, by increasing the presence within the U.K., EPR-E can now maintain and control the retention of knowledge and skills within their workforce. Which, in turn, allows EPR-E to be better prepared for future nuclear projects, such as Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station.

Following the work delivered in 2023, there are opportunities for MP and EPR-E to increase our collaborative partnership. The delivery on HPC highlights capabilities required and experienced gained, enabling support to the wider nuclear and renewable energy sectors, where MP are supporting further delivery of key national infrastructure projects.

MP continue to bring value to the client by providing PMO expertise to help with the delivery of the project. We are excited to be key contributors helping Britain reach Net Zero across the energy sector.

This article was written by Alec Daley, Consultant & Matthew Smith, Project Analyst.