Campaigners claim NRW has been ignored as mud sampling from nuclear plant gets underway

Jack-up Barge and crane. Photo by Jeremy Halls, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

EDF Energy has commenced taking samples of mud from the construction of a new nuclear power plant without the agreement of National Resources Wales, according to the group opposing plans to dump the sediment in the sea off Cardiff Bay.

In February NRW received an application from EDF, who want to dump 800,0000 tonnes of mud dredged as part of building work for the new plant at Hinkley Point, the site of the disused Hinkley Point A facility near Bridgwater in Somerset.

Two years ago, EDF were given permission to dump 300,000 tonnes of mud from the site off the Cardiff coast, despite protests and following a Senedd debate.

GeigerBay, a coalition of scientists, experts, individuals and organisations formed to oppose the plans, are pressing for extensive testing of the sediment following what they say is evidence of plutonium contamination, a claim that Westminster’s Environment Agency (EA) denies.

 

Sampling

A notice published last month confirmed sedimentation survey sampling is now underway despite the lack of an agreement on the scope and location of the testing.

In a letter to the Expert Committee set up by the Welsh Government to examine the issues around the proposed dump, GeigerBay say: “EDF have proceeded with the sampling (core extraction) operations by the Jack up Barge Excalibur, disregarding the lack of approval.

“They apparently think they can ignore NRW as the operations are in English waters and approved by the Marine Management Organisation (the government body that regulates and plans marine activities in the seas around England).

“With uncertainties surrounding the planning, licensing and scoping we reiterate our point that testing must include at the very least toxicity testing, a full assessment of the nuclides present in the sediment, and a full exploration of the likelihood of transfer of nuclear pollutants onto land because of the risk to humans and wildlife.

“Is the Expert Committee aware that sampling has commenced, and considered everything that that entails?”

A petition against the dumping has secured over 10,000 signatures, triggering another debate in the Senedd.

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