Truth or fiction?
Will a cooling system at Hinkley Point C decimate local fish populations?
YES, ACCORDING TO CALCULATIONS by Pete Henderson, senior research associate at the University of Oxford and a director of Pisces Conservation.
Henderson bases his figure on the number of fish, prawns, crabs and mysids (shrimp-like crustaceans) already sucked into, and killed, in the Hinkley B water cooling system every year. He adds that these are conservative estimates and the actual number is likely to be higher.
But the developer of the new nuclear plant in North Somerset, EDF Energy, disagrees, saying the Government’s own Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science has estimated the actual fish kill rate to be about 6 million fish a year, or about 16,000 fish a day.
Henderson says the reasons for the massive disparity is that EDF is ignoring those much smaller and very abundant animals that will pass through the filters.
Though the mesh size at Hinkley C will be 5mm, compared with 10mm at Hinkley B, many common species, including “inshore gobies, pipefish, young herring and sprat and young eels” will be caught and killed on this mesh. “This means the actual number of fish impinged on Hinkley C will be far higher than they have estimated,” he says. James Fair
Hinkley Point is located in Somerset, on the Severn Estuary.