May 23, 2011
waste dumped into the sea 'will pose no risk to public'
the firm that runs Hinkley Point A near Burnham-On-Sea, announced
on Monday (May 23rd) that it plans to release radioactive gas
and liquid into the Bristol Channel as part of decommissioning
However, the firm says there will be no risk to public health
or the environment, even though a nuclear expert has questioned
the controls in place.
Hinkley A started decommissioning ten years ago and is working
on a system to put 'intermediate' waste into vats of acid to reduce
Magnox says the process of dissolving the materials in acid will
give off gas and produce liquid that is radioactive, however those
releases will be very low and cause no harm.
It added that the process has been used by nuclear power stations
elsewhere and would not start for at least another four years.
John Large, a nuclear consultant who has worked with power companies
and Greenpeace, told the BBC: "If you look at the history
and the development of the British nuclear industry, and look
at the calamity that was caused by radioactive discharges around
Sellafield, if the past practice is a sign I don't think sufficient
guards and controls will be in place at this station."
But Magnox says that before its process begins, it will need
approval from the Environment Agency and the Office for Nuclear
Regulation. The company will also have to apply for permission
to build a new building.
Colin Patchett, deputy chief inspector at the Office for Nuclear
Regulation, added: "Our mission is to protect people and
society from the hazards of the nuclear industry and it's up to
Magnox to prove to us that it is safe to carry out these activities."
Hinkley Point currently has one working nuclear power station.
EDF Energy wants to build another reactor at the site.