EDF is celebrating as workers building the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station have completed the 49,000-tonne base for the station’s second reactor on schedule - meeting a target date set more than four years ago.

The French energy giant said this major milestone in nuclear construction was completed by teams who have had to adapt to new Coronavirus working conditions.

Their achievement, known as “J-zero”, comes less than a year after the completion of the first reactor’s base in June 2019.

Completion of the second reactor base also benefited from experience gained on the first identical unit – which EDF say has led to significant increases in productivity through steps such as increased use of prefabrication.

It is hoped this will benefit the proposed follow-on project at Sizewell C in Suffolk.

An EDF spokesman said: "Construction during the current Coronavirus crisis was able to continue after the project took a wide range of steps to ensure the safety of workers and the community.

"This included reducing numbers on site to enable social distancing and concentrating on the most critical areas of construction.

"Many health measures remain in force to prevent the spread of infection. Where social distancing is not possible, workers have been using extra protective equipment."

Work on the first reactor is also moving ahead and new pictures show the rapid progress made since its own “J-zero" 12 months ago.

The project has also been able to use its resources to support the local community and NHS during the crisis. Further information on the measures taken at Hinkley Pont C during the Coronavirus crisis can be found here. New figures issued last week also show that Hinkley Point C beat its ambition to spend £1.5bn with regional businesses five years ahead of target

Hinkley Point C Managing Director Stuart Crooks said: “I want to thank workers and our union partners for their extraordinary efforts to make safe working possible during the pandemic. They have adapted to major changes in everyday behaviours and working practices which would have been unimaginable a few months ago. The commitment of our specialist suppliers across the UK and in Europe has also been instrumental in helping us safely achieve this major milestone. And we must never forget the duty of care we owe to our community, whose on-going support is vital to the success of our Project.

“Hinkley Point C has a strong culture of learning and innovation which is leading to improved productivity as we get ahead building our second identical reactor. This experience is a great basis for further identical reactor s at Sizewell C in Suffolk.”