Cardiff Council Faces Debate on Testing Hinkley’s Nuclear Mud

Hinkley Point.jpg

Following the Welsh Government’s agreeing a license for the dumping of 300,000 tonnes of mud from Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station in Cardiff's inshore waters, the Plaid Cymru Group on Cardiff Council have tabled a motion (Thursday, 25 January) demanding independent and rigorous testing be done first.

It was revealed at the Petitions Committee of the National Assembly for Wales in January that Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government have already granted a license for the dumping to go ahead in June. 

Leader of the Cardiff Council Plaid Cymru Group, Cllr. Neil McEvoy AM said, “I was shocked to have it confirmed at the Assembly Petitions Committee that there has been no analysis of the radioactive dose that the mud below 5cm may or may not contain, even though the potential total dose is the most important thing.

“It was also astonishing to hear that no details could be given as to where the mud may end up. Scientific studies show that radioactive particles can travel 10 miles inland from the sea. The whole of the nearby Welsh coastline could be affected.

 “It beggars belief that the Labour Government in the Bay has given the go ahead for the dumping, despite this huge safety oversight. 

"I am asking every Councillor in Cardiff, as capital city, to act in the Welsh National interest and support our motion.”

 Councillor Keith Parry (Plaid Cymru) said,

“The Government has just taken the evidence for this dumping plan on the nod. We can’t let them risk the future health of the people of Cardiff and south Wales like that. We’re calling on all city councillors, whatever their party, to back our motion and make sure this material is safe.”

 Speaking on behalf of the ‘Stop the Dump’ Campaign, marine radioactivity specialist Tim Deere-Jones said “Recent claims of alarmism made by the nuclear industry against the Stop the Dump Campaign are nothing more than an attempt to hide the fact that the industry has no answers to the concerns raised by both the Campaign and AMs on the Senedd Petitions Committee.” 

The Motion to be debated in Cardiff Council next Thursday 26th January, moved by Cllr McEvoy and seconded by Cllr Keith Parry, reads:

‘This Council notes the proposal to dump 300,000 of mud from outside Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station in Cardiff’s waters. This Council calls upon the Cabinet to observe Precautionary Principle (PP) as detailed in Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The PP aims at ensuring a higher level of environmental protection through preventative decision-taking in the case of risk…

Given that there has been no calculation of the potential dosage of radiation from the Hinkley Point material beneath 5cm and also that there were only 5 samples taken at a depth below 5cm, this Council concludes that in the interests of public safety, the Council will pay for independent and thorough analysis of the mud at depth, in consultation with CEFAS and the campaigners behind the petition to the National Assembly for Wales.’

The campaigners presenting the original petition to the Assembly over the proposed dumping (Marine Licence 12/45 ML) responded to the latest evidence by raising the several queries:

  • No appropriate baseline data for water body and sediment movements around the Severn estuary coasts of south Wales
  • No baseline data for movement/transport of sedimentary material dumped into the Cardiff Grounds
  • No baseline data for the behaviour and fate of Bridgwater Bay/Hinkley sediment-associated radioactivity dumped at the Cardiff Grounds
  • No baseline data for current (pre-dump) concentrations of Bridgwater Bay/Hinkley derived radioactivity in south Wales coastal and coastal zone (terrestrial) environments
  • No baseline data for current (pre-dump) doses of marine radioactivity to inhabitants of the south Wales coast and the terrestrial zone (up to 10 miles inland)
  • Therefore not possible to construct potential doses for the post-dump scenario (current + post dump radioactivity)
  • Had a site specific (Cardiff Grounds) Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) been carried out, these data gaps could have been rectified
  • A comprehensive EIA is now required
  • The Campaign respectfully calls upon the Committee and the National Assembly to demand that the Welsh Government establish and carry through such an EIA before deciding on proceeding.

Bristol Channel/Severn estuary has the second most extreme tidal range in the world and its tidal influences are unusually active and relatively powerful. The inner sections of the Bristol Channel and all of the Severn Estuary coastline is characterized by shallow water, and extensive inter-tidal and near shore sub-tidal deposits of fine sediment, while the offshore/central zone of Bristol Channel has deeper water channels and a largely rocky seabed.

There is a strong consensus that the movement of fine sediments in the Bristol Channel is a major factor in the behaviour and fate of pollutants because many toxic substances (including radioactivity) associated with them are potentially the most mobile under all sea conditions.

There is an absence of recent studies on the Bristol Channel based on collected data, so that computer modelling has been relied on to investigate the hydrodynamics, sediment transport system and coastal processes in order to develop a better understanding of sedimentation.

The outcome of the modelling implies that radioactively contaminated sedimentary material from the Hinkley site, dumped at the Cardiff Grounds, would be transported eastwards and inland along the coast of South Wales between Cardiff and the River Severn. However, as the computer model must make assumptions, it cannot be relied on beyond suggesting, not the extent, but what may happen.

REF: “Bristol Channel Marine Aggregates: Resources and Constraints Research Project” Final Report: August 2000: Volume 2 : Technical Appendix 06: Section4:3, Page 28. DETR et al’


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  • Marc Evans
    published this page in News 2018-01-25 13:37:53 +0000

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