Plans to move mud from alongside the Hinkley Point nuclear site in Somerset to a dumping ground off Cardiff Bay have been debated by AMs. It comes after a petition to the assembly against the plans attracted over 7,000 signatures. Other online petitions gathered tens of thousands of signatures. The assembly petitions committee took evidence on the issue and published a summary of the evidence it had heard and requested the debate in the Senedd. As part of plans to build the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset – 300,000 tonnes needs to be dredged from the seabed nearby. The developers are set to move it within weeks to a disposal site off Cardiff Bay. Both developers EDF and Natural Resources Wales insist tests have shown the sediment poses no risk but campaigners claim it could be contaminated by discharges from the old Hinkley Point A and B and argue the mud has not been adequately tested. Plaid Cymru’s Simon Thomas said the issue illustrated that “we have so little control of our natural resources, that we have to accept the spoil of a nuclear power station in Hinkley Point”. He said that as a matter of principle it is was the Welsh parliament that should decide what happens in Welsh waters. The company behind Hinkley Point C – EDF – said the mud has been tested independently to internationally accepted standards and shown to pose no risk to human health or the environment. It has refused a Petitions Committee request to pay for further sampling – arguing claims the mud is toxic are alarmist and wrong, and that any sampling would yield the same results and would not remove the petitioner’s objection about the testing process. Energy Secretary Lesley Griffiths said Natural Resources Wales was satisfied there was no risk from the dredged material to people, the environment, or the wildlife that lives there. However, she said she has asked NRW to review the way it communicated its decisions over this licence. Independent AM Neil McEvoy, who met the demonstrators, dismissed the suggestion the mud had been tested properly and described the situation as a “dereliction of duty”. He said: “We have a Welsh Government allowing Wales to be dumped on and the mud hasn’t been tested… The top soil was tested – [but] you’ve got five samples only under five centimetres for 300,000 tonnes of mud.” Anti-nuclear campaigner Tim Deere Jones, who submitted the petition, is unhappy with the level of testing undertaken. He said: “What kind of radioactivity is in the mud, how much of it is in the mud, if you dump it into the Cardiff grounds which is a dispersal site – where will it disperse to?” Richard Bramhall is from the Low Level Radiation Campaign, chairman of the Welsh Anti Nuclear Alliance and a former member of the government advisory committee advising on the radiation effects of internal emitters. “The idea that the average radioactivity in the mud is at a low level is of no comfort at all to the people of south Wales,” he said. “The particles will blow ashore and once they’re in your lungs that’s not a low dose.”
BBC 23rd May 2018 read more »
Hinkley Point C site owners, EDF, set target of 1,000 apprentices working on the project during its lifespan, and today a quarter of those places have been filled.
BEIS 25th May 2018 read more »