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How to deal with the thousands of fish threatened by Hinkley Point C nuclear plants cooling turbines

Nuclear Plant And Sound Projector Developers Fight Over Acoustic Fish Deterrent In The Severn Estuary
Emanuela Barbiroglio Senior 11 Jul 

As Hinkley Point C power plant is being built in South West England, hundreds of thousands of fish living in the Severn estuary, including protected Atlantic salmon, may be under threat from the plant’s cooling turbines.

An acoustic deterrent could help deflect fish away from the water intakes. Developed by Fish Guidance Systems Ltd, the Sound Projector Array would use underwater sound projectors to prevent fish being drawn.

Hinkley Point C’s owner, the energy company EDF, would prefer to proceed with a change to the Secretary of State’s Development Consent Order that requires the device. Although they originally proposed the installation as part of the environmental protection package, the company is now proposing to avoid it.

According to some scientists, however, removing this piece of environmental protection would threaten the biodiverse ecosystem of the UK’s largest estuary and designated Special Area of Conservation. It could also set a precedent for future projects like Sizewell nuclear power stations in Suffolk.

“I have lost sleep over the danger to the fish and the risk of devastating the ecosystem of the Severn estuary,” a researcher in coastal governance, Natasha Bradshaw, said. “There is little proof that fish will survive the journey through 3 km of tunnels or what impact returning them (dead or alive) into the estuary will have on the ecosystem.”

The Severn estuary supports up to 110 fish species, with fish nurseries serving the whole of the Bristol Channel and Celtic Sea, and an average of 74,000 wintering birds each year.

“In such a large and complex ecosystem, effects of individual projects are always difficult to pinpoint. The situation is complicated further by ongoing changes wrought by climate change,” says David Lambert, managing director of Fish Guidance Systems. “The provision of an acoustic fish deterrent as required under the existing Development Consent Order is to mitigate the uncertainty over these impacts which will perpetuate through the 60 year lifespan of the plant.”

EDF, on the other hand, wants to build fish protection measures like low velocity side entry water intakes designed to minimize the number of fish taken into the system and a fish return system……….

July 14, 2020 - Posted by | environment, UK

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