Hinkley Point dredger

EDF has this week rejected concerns about radioactivity from its dredging in the Bristol Channel around Hinkley Point power station near Burnham-On-Sea.

A coalition of concerned Bristol Channel researchers and campaigners says they have undertaken a pre-dredging radioactivity survey because “EDF, who want to dump radioactivity in the Bristol Channel, refuse to do it.”

The coalition, representing interests from both Welsh and English communities along the Bristol Channel/Severn estuary coasts, has appealed to the CEOs of the Marine Management Organisation and Natural Resources Wales (who must both adjudicate on EDF’s application to dredge) and the Westminster and Welsh Governments, who oversee those two agencies, to postpone any dumping decision until the survey results are published. The coalition has also formally requested a Public Inquiry to discuss the issues.

Hinkley Point C

Tim Deere-Jones from the Marine Radioactivity Research & Consultancy adds: “The coalition has also written to the CEOs of the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the Environment Agency, the Office of Environmental Protection, the Secretaries of State for DEFRA and BEIS, Mark Drakeford the First Minister of Wales, and the Chair and members of the expert Hinkley Stakeholders Group set up by the First Minister to advise Welsh Government on the implications for Wales of the HPC development.”

However, Chris Fayers, head of environment at Hinkley Point C, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “For this second phase of dredging, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Sciences went further than before, testing the mud beyond internationally-recognised best practice, with more samples at greater depth and with a greater range of analysis.”

“The results confirm previous analysis that the mud is perfectly safe for disposal at sea. An independent report commissioned by the Welsh Government also found no evidence of any increased risk to the public or the environment from the previous dredging and disposal.”

The coalition responds: “The whole point of our survey was that although the area of Bridgwater Bay and HPC point has been regularly subject to radiological analysis, the distant areas where the dredged mud is to be dumped have NOT been subject to radiological analysis. The collection of ‘baseline (pre-dump) data’ in such areas will enable us to confirm whether the levels of radioactivity in those areas increases after the dumping as we will undertake post dumping surveys in due course. The failure by EDF and the Marine Management Organisation to insist on such baseline data gathering is in breach of both the internationally accepted “precautionary principle” and indeed principles quoted in the MMO’s own published “Evidence Strategy.”

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