Sediment and mud taken from the seabed around Hinkley Point near Burnham-On-Sea to be dumped off Cardiff Bay will be safe, officials have said this week.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has finished assessing sample results taken from Hinkley Point and it says independent experts have found the chemical and radiological results are within “acceptable, safe limits”.

EDF Energy also said last year that the project to move mud in the Bristol Channel would not be harmful to the environment despite concerns raised by anti-nuclear campaigners and a 58,000 signature petition against the plans.

The project will involve dredging mud and sediment from the seabed in the Bristol Channel near the Hinkley Point A and B stations and then disposing it just over a mile out to sea from Cardiff Bay.

EDF says the dredging of the sediment is needed to allow the drilling of six vertical shafts for the cooling water system for the new Hinkley Point C power station.

John Wheadon, NRW permitting services manager, said on Tuesday: “Our seas are home to valuable wildlife and habitats and are important to our well-being and economy.”

“It’s our job to make sure activities do not harm these vital marine environments. The sediment from the dredge sites has been tested thoroughly by independent experts.”

“We are satisfied there is no risk to people or the environment and the material is safe for disposal.”

The analysis was carried out by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

And NRW said the results were assessed by its radiological experts in consultation with Public Health Wales. NNB GenCo will carry out the work after it was given a marine licence by NRW for the disposal of dredged material in 2014.

A condition in the licence was to test samples of the seabed sediment at the proposed dredging sites for “harmful chemicals and radiological materials before any disposal could take place”.

It said it also asked Cefas to carry out a radiation dose analysis from deeper sediment samples taken in 2009, as well the recent samples, and the results showed the “material is not harmful”.

 
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