Dumping of ‘nuclear mud’ off coast ends
THE first phase of a highly controversial dredging project which has seen mud moved from near the Hinkley Point nuclear sites to a location off the Cardiff coastline has been completed.
Opponents of the dredging say a greater range of testing should have been carried out to ensure there was no radioactive risk and there were heated exchanges in a Senedd debate this week.
But energy giant EDF, which is responsible for the construction of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear station, has announced that “contractors have now completed the licensed work to dredge and deposit mud in the Severn Estuary”.
Further dredging at a later date is expected so that six vertical shafts for the power station’s cooling water system can be constructed.
EDF says that just under 110,000 tonnes of mud and sediment was dredged and deposited at the Cardiff Grounds disposal site. It had been permitted to move nearly 305,000 tonnes.
Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, this week condemned the “scaremongering and lies being circulated as part of the campaign against this marine licence which has resulted in unnecessary public concern for the people of Wales”.
However, proposals for further dredging would be likely to trigger renewed opposition.
An EDF Energy spokesman said: “This mud is no different to mud found anywhere else up and down the coast. It has been thoroughly tested by a UK Government agency whose experts confirmed it poses no threat to human health or the environment.
“The sediment is not classed as radioactive under UK law. EDF did everything that it was requested to do when it applied for the licence and has published information so people can see the facts for themselves. We have also given evidence on dredging at the Welsh Assembly.
“Hinkley Point C makes an important contribution to the Welsh economy – providing work for 25 Welsh companies and 1,000 Welsh workers. As previously mentioned, further dredging will be required ahead of drilling the vertical shafts for the cooling water system for the new power station.
“We will work closely with the appropriate experts to prepare our licence application and will again comply with all requirements.
“We also fully support all efforts to inform and explain the dredging work to the public.”
> Construction continues apace at Hinkley Point C