NFLA and KIMO call for halt in dredging of mud from the Hinkley Point site and an independent re-evaluation of the technical and scientific issues with the material, and consider raising concerns with the OSPAR Commission
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and KIMO International – Municipalities for Sustainable Seas reiterate their ongoing concern with the decision to dump as much as 300,000 tons of mud from the cleared site for the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor to an offshore site close to Cardiff Bay, the
Cardiff Deep Grounds.
EDF have recruited dredgers which have to date dumped around 10,000 tons of mud last week. A legal challenge at the Cardiff High Court to this practice will be heard today, arguing for a halt in further dumping to require the adoption of the correct methodology for testing potentially radioactive contaminated mud at the appropriate depth. We await the court’s decision with real interest.
We also note a number of comments have been posted on social media from local boat owners operating out of Penarth Marina and Cardiff Bay that are noting there could be a significant build-up of mud in the undredged waters of the Bristol Channel. As the Penarth News reports, a well-known local skipper has warned that the existing plateau of mud at the Cardiff Grounds is becoming higher. He says the addition of thousands of tons of mud from the Hinkley Point site may mean there may no longer be a sufficient depth of water at all states of the tide to cover the Cardiff Grounds. That could then mean the mud becoming exposed to the air at low tide.1
NFLA and KIMO International urge the regulator Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to consider these new concerns in addition to those being raised within the court case. NFLA and KIMO International are considering raising the wider issues on this matter with the OSPAR Radiation Substances Committee (RSC) to seek its views on the high levels of public concern that has been raised to the dumping of such large materials of mud from the Hinkley Point site. The OSPAR Commission is responsible for encouraging clean-up of the seas of western and northern Europe, and the RSC is seeking to bring radioactive discharges into the marine environment to be around ‘close to zero’ by 2020. NFLA and KIMO are considering inputting to the OSPAR RSC the research already provided to it by independent marine radiation consultant Tim Deere-Jones and extend it to consider recent developments and responses by both NRW and EDF.2
Tim Deere-Jones is also one of the speakers at the NFLA Wales / UK & Ireland Steering Committee joint seminar on concerns around new nuclear developments in Wales and the sustainable alternatives to it, which is being held in Cardiff County Hall on 28th September. This will allow councillors and concerned
groups to hear from speakers looking at the Hinkley site, the proposed Wylfa B site and the issues around small modular reactors being mooted for Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd. 3
NFLA Chair, Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
The concerns around the dredging of large levels of mud from the Hinkley Point C site has clearly hit a
nerve amongst the public of Wales, who in large numbers have signed petitions of concern to halt the
dumping. As we see what the courts think of strongly articulated concerns on the material being dredged,
these new concerns about how the dredged mud may affect the area around the coastline for local boats
needs also to be considered. I am pleased KIMO International also shares our concerns and we will look
carefully into the benefits of raising such concerns with the OSPAR Radiation Substances Committee.
In our view the dredging of the mud from the Hinkley Point site should cease to allow for further
independent monitoring and a consideration of the comments made by local seafarers.
KIMO International representative, Councillor Malcolm Bell said:
I am alarmed that the dumping of potentially contaminated mud has gone ahead without the application
of a proper process for monitoring and testing for harmful substances. The safeguarding of coastal
communities, industry and tourism is of paramount importance and the dumping of this potentially
harmful waste without implementing robust checks is both reckless and unacceptable.
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Penarth News 16th Sept 2018
(2) NFLA Radioactive Waste Briefing 69, Cardiff Dep Grounds and Hinkley Point site dredged mud, October 2017 http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/briefings/radwaste-briefing-69-cardiff-bay-hinkley-c-new-build-mud/
(3) NFLA Welsh Forum / Steering Committee joint seminar on new nuclear and alternatives, Cardiff County Hall, 28th September, 1pm – 3.30pm –
• Rob Davies, People Against Wylfa B – ‘PAWB’s visit to Fukushima and Tokyo and overview of concerns around developing a new nuclear site in Anglesey’
• Tim Deere-Jones, independent marine pollution consultant, ‘The aftermath of the ‘Hinkley mud’ issue and prospects for Hinkley Point C’
• Dr David Lowry, independent nuclear policy consultant, ‘Are Small Nuclear Reactors a viable financial prospect and why are they receiving so much Government support’
• Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, ‘The renewable energy alternatives and changes in the political scene in Wales’.