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Toxic radioactive mud dumping is a toxic issue for Wales

BBC 23rd May 2018 Plans to move mud from alongside the Hinkley Point nuclear site in Somerset
to a dumping ground off Cardiff Bay have been debated by AMs. It comes
after a petition to the assembly against the plans attracted over 7,000
signatures. Other online petitions gathered tens of thousands of
signatures. The assembly petitions committee took evidence on the issue and
published a summary of the evidence it had heard and requested the debate
in the Senedd.

As part of plans to build the new Hinkley Point C nuclear
power station in Somerset – 300,000 tonnes needs to be dredged from the
seabed nearby. The developers are set to move it within weeks to a disposal
site off Cardiff Bay. Both developers EDF and Natural Resources Wales
insist tests have shown the sediment poses no risk but campaigners claim it
could be contaminated by discharges from the old Hinkley Point A and B and
argue the mud has not been adequately tested.

Plaid Cymru’s Simon Thomas said the issue illustrated that “we have so little control of our natural
resources, that we have to accept the spoil of a nuclear power station in
Hinkley Point”. He said that as a matter of principle it is was the Welsh
parliament that should decide what happens in Welsh waters.

The company behind Hinkley Point C – EDF – said the mud has been tested independently
to internationally accepted standards and shown to pose no risk to human
health or the environment. It has refused a Petitions Committee request to
pay for further sampling – arguing claims the mud is toxic are alarmist and
wrong, and that any sampling would yield the same results and would not
remove the petitioner’s objection about the testing process. Energy
Secretary Lesley Griffiths said Natural Resources Wales was satisfied there
was no risk from the dredged material to people, the environment, or the
wildlife that lives there. However, she said she has asked NRW to review
the way it communicated its decisions over this licence.

Independent AM Neil McEvoy, who met the demonstrators, dismissed the suggestion the mud
had been tested properly and described the situation as a “dereliction of
duty”. He said: “We have a Welsh Government allowing Wales to be dumped on
and the mud hasn’t been tested… The top soil was tested – [but] you’ve
got five samples only under five centimetres for 300,000 tonnes of mud.”

Anti-nuclear campaigner Tim Deere Jones, who submitted the petition, is
unhappy with the level of testing undertaken. He said: “What kind of
radioactivity is in the mud, how much of it is in the mud, if you dump it
into the Cardiff grounds which is a dispersal site – where will it disperse
to?”

Richard Bramhall is from the Low Level Radiation Campaign, chairman of
the Welsh Anti Nuclear Alliance and a former member of the government
advisory committee advising on the radiation effects of internal emitters.
“The idea that the average radioactivity in the mud is at a low level is of
no comfort at all to the people of south Wales,” he said. “The particles
will blow ashore and once they’re in your lungs that’s not a low dose.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-44223979

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May 25, 2018 - Posted by | UK, wastes

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