There are numerous calls for the UK government to intervene and temporarily halt construction at Hinkey Point C during the coronavirus outbreak. Numerous “worried” workers at the construction site of Britain’s first nuclear power plant in decades have expressed their concerns about the perceived lack of social distancing measures and hygiene issues. EDF, who is behind the multi-billion pound project in Somerset, has responded to workers’ anxieties and already slashed its workforce to around 2,000 and implemented further social distancing measures. Site workers using local accommodation will now be housed at Hinkley Point C’s two campus sites while bus pick-up stops used by workers in Bridgwater are no longer used. Yet figures from the environmental community have continued to call for the multi-billion project to be temporarily halted during the outbreak to protect residents and staff and lower the risk of coronavirus. Roy Pumfrey, a spokesman for Stop Hinkley, wrote to the acting Prime Minster, Dominic Raab, to “put a stop to the reckless and possibly dangerous government support” for the ongoing construction for at least the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.He wrote: “The risk to the local population is due to workers coming from cities where COVID-19 is at much higher levels than here in Somerset. “EDF cannot ‘confine to barracks’ workers in its hostels, themselves a potential breeding ground for COVID-19, so when workers venture out there is a much greater risk of spreading COVID-19 than if they were on furlough and staying at home. “Please do not underestimate the extent of this problem. Apart from in hospitals, there cannot be many places in the UK like Hinkley Point C where, after the Easter break, 2,000 people will be gathered for work that could and should be postponed due to COVID-19.” A group of anti-nuclear Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and the UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) have also written a joint statement in which they stated they were “highly alarmed” that construction was ongoing and had raised their concerns with the government. A statement reads: “NGOs and the NFLA are aware that construction at the comparable Flamanville-3 new nuclear plant has been reduced to control and maintenance levels only – the same should happen for Hinkley Point C.
Somerset Live 17th April 2020 read more »