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New report on human and environmental impact of Hinkley Point C nuclear project

Wales Online 16th March 2021 A  new report has raised concerns over the potential impact of the UK’s newest power plant on people living in Wales. Located less than 20 miles as the crow flies from Cardiff, Hinkley Point C in Somerset is the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in over 20 years. The 230-acre plant, which is being built by French energy company EDF, is expected to be completed in 2023 and be operational for 60 years.
But a new report released today, March 16, by the Hinkley Point C Stakeholders reference
group, has raised concerns around its potential impact on Wales. Among the concerns of the group of expert panellists are its effects on the Severn estuary off the South Wales coast. The estuary has one of the most extensive inter-tidal wildlife habitats in the UK and is the point where several of the UK’s longest rivers meet, including the River Usk near Newport.
But the report has questioned how the plant would impact on various fish species as well as on water temperature levels and the resilience of the estuary’s ecosystem. It said the Environment Agency’s assessment of EDF’s plans ruled that there “could be an adverse impact upon the Severn estuary ecosystem and its fish assemblage, which contradicts Welsh legislative and policy aims and would therefore be against the Welsh interest.” It called for the original requirements outlined in the Hinkley
Development Consent Order to be upheld “to avoid any significant adverse short-term or long-term effect” on the estuary. “With predicted fish loss of 37 tonnes or 182 million fish per annum, the environmental risk is too great,” it added. The report also raised concerns over the suitability ofmthe Cardiff Grounds as a site for the disposal of sediment from the plant.
About 650,000 tonnes of dredged mud and sediment are deposited annually on the Cardiff Grounds about 3km off the coast of south Wales, and EDF is currently hoping to be granted further licences to dispose at the site. The Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales should undertake independent model studies to review the suitability of Cardiff Grounds as a marine disposal site before granting further licences. The report also called on the Welsh Government to review its procedures for potential nuclear emergencies at Hinkley Point which might impact on people living in parts of south Wales.

March 17, 2021 - Posted by | environment, UK

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