‘Ground-breaking’ initiative: First nuclear industry post tensioning certificate issued by CARES


A ‘ground-breaking’ step forward in reinforcing steel certainty was announced today by CARES, with confirmation that the first nuclear industry post tensioning certificate has now been issued in the UK.

The nuclear specific standard achieved for part of the construction phase of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is the first of its kind – and was developed specifically to meet the exacting requirements of the UK’s nuclear energy sector.

“It is a ground-breaking moment for us all here at CARES and, of course, for our colleagues involved in the manufacture, fabrication and safe installation of these critical materials,” said Lee Brankley, CARES’ Chief Executive Officer.

“Rightly, given its strategic importance to the UK’s energy needs, these clients demand impeccable standards in all elements of project development – and CARES is delighted to have played a part in taking forward this next generation certification.”

Work on developing the new post tensioning nuclear scheme began during the pandemic, with detailed discussions between CARES and BYLOR to develop the first draft. This was subsequently reviewed by CARES’ Post Tensioning Technical Committee prior to its finalisation. The client, a Joint Venture, (FVH-JV) between Freyssinet and VSL have been working with BYLOR and the Hinkley Point operator, EDF, to deliver specialist engineering solutions, with post tensioning forming a critical part of the project’s construction. Both Freyssinet and VSL are already approved under the CARES Post Tensioning PT1 Scheme.

Under the original proposals, CARES’ demanding Post Tensioning PT1 Scheme – developed in conjunction with the highways sector to meet its installation requirements – had been proposed, but it was felt that the highly-specialised nature of the construction work at Hinkley Point called for a new solution.

As a result, a completely new scheme was developed, based on PT1 – but further enhanced by the performance requirements demanded by the Nuclear Sector. A key component of these requirements was the ability to trace all PT components back to their manufacturing source and raw material supply, including fabrication and precast facilities on site. One key component of the installation is the CARES approved post tension strand, supported by CARES’ sector-leading digital ecosystem.

The first PT (N) scheme certificates covering initial installation requirements have now been issued, with further audits planned to complete the assessment work against additional assurance requirements.

BYLOR said a UK Cares Nuclear Scheme will not only raise the quality assurance level with specific requirements in post tensioning but also the strengthening of nuclear safety barriers in the construction phase. 

FVH-JV said “It is a pleasure to be working alongside CARES to ensure that the highest level of quality is provided during these critical operations.

Our Post Tensioning works on the reactor units are vital to securing the Nuclear Safety of the United Kingdom throughout HPC’s lifespan, and to being a contributory part of the legacy towards a Net Zero future.”

Mr Brankley added that CARES “looks forward to working closely with our colleagues here who share our focus on continuous improvement in reinforcing steel safety assurance and certification.”

EDF commented: “This is a great example of collaborative working to ensure that Bylor and FVH-JV’s already rigorous commitment to quality is aligned and recognised by UK Cares. The time and work taken to develop this bespoke standard has paved the way for future post tensioned nuclear projects in the UK.”