Posted: 13th October 2020
October 21st 2020
EdF are currently building Hinkley Point C, and as part of the construction they want to dredge mud from Bridgewater Bay to construct the cooling system for the new reactors. Radioactive particles from the outflow pipes of previous nuclear reactors – Hinkley Point A operated from 1965-2000 and Hinkley Point B from 1976 to the present – have been flushed out into Bridgewater Bay for the last 55 years. There were plutonium leaks from Hinkley Point A in the 1970s which may also have contaminated the mud they want to dump in Cardiff Bay.
In 2018 the Geiger Bay coalition established, through Court action, that there was no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the disposal of the dredged sediment and its effect on Cardiff Grounds and the Welsh environment. Despite a debate in the Senedd, prompted by a large petition, the Welsh Government allowed EdF to dump 82,000 cubic metres of sediment containing radioactive particles at the Cardiff Grounds Dispersal Site (2.5 miles from Cardiff).
EdF now want to dump a further 600,000 cubic metres of sediment from the Hinkley Point C dredgings at the Cardiff Grounds site, despite the fact that the Severn Estuary is a Special Area of Conservation and a Marine Protected Area. There are several European Protected Species in the Severn Estuary (Twaite shad, Allis shad, river lamprey, sea lamprey); the Severn Estuary is internationally important for the European Eel, a UK Priority Species listed as Critically Endangered on the global IUCN Red List.
To conduct any dumping, EdF need a new marine license.
Despite not having an EIA for this, EdF initially asked Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to give them permission to apply for a marine license without conducting an EIA. As a result of Geiger Bay’s 10,000+ signatory petition, which has led to a full debate in the Senedd being scheduled on this issue for 21st October, EdF have conceded to the pressure and agreed to conduct an EIA before they apply for a marine licence.
The Senedd Debate
Getting the EIA is only any good if it addresses all the issues, of course ! That’s why we’re asking you to contact your Senedd Members to ask them to raise the following points in the debate (all of which were raised in the petition):
NRW should make public all EDF documents submitted for the scoping decision and consult openly with all interested parties.
We believe that Senedd Members must remind the Welsh Government that they have to take uncertainties, and the precautionary principle, into consideration when assessing environmental and potential health impacts.
Who are Geiger Bay ?
We are a non-partisan Coalition comprising organisations, individuals and scientists formed in 2018, to galvanise public and political opinion against the dumping of contaminated mud from Hinkley nuclear power station in Cardiff Bay.