Hundreds of tonnes of radioactive waste could be dumped in a new facility at Hinkley Point power station, near Burnham-On-Sea, it emerged on Tuesday (March 13th).
Plans are being drawn up for a bunker capable of holding 24,000 square metres of low-level waste from the defunct Hinkley A power station.
Concrete rubble and machinery from dismantled buildings, plant and equipment and also contaminated clothing would all be eligible for disposal in the facility. It would be kept there until safe, potentially for hundreds of years.
British Nuclear Group, which manages the site, said a scoping report on the project is due to be given to Somerset County Council later this month.
The company stressed no definite decision has been taken to build the store, but confirmed a planning application may be submitted later in the year.
Anti-nuclear campaign group Stop Hinkley has opposed the idea and said it could lead to Sellafield-style sprawl.
Low-level waste has in the past been taken to a site near Drigg, in Cumbria, but that is fast filling up as more power stations from the 1950s and 1960s are closed.
Tim Jones, a spokesman for British Nuclear Group, told the Western Daily Press: “There is the possibility that we will submit a full application later in the summer. But that won’t be before the Government’s position becomes clear. It will follow the publication of the Defra review of low-level waste management.” That report, giving national guidance on what to do with low-level waste, is expected in the next few months.
Jim Duffy, of Stop Hinkley, said he had supported the intermediate store at Hinkley as a stop-gap, but could not support permanent low-level disposal on the site. “From our point of view, we need to draw a line in the sand somewhere. We have said OK to intermediate waste but don’t really want to see any expansion of waste storage. I think the whole site really looks set to expand if the industry and Government get their way.”
Hinkley is also home to Hinkley B nuclear power station, which is due back on line later in March – as recently reported by Burnham-On-sea.com.
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