Richard Bramhall: A particular threat to health: Why it is vital to stop the dumping of mud from Hinkley Point C in the Severn Estuary. In 2018 the French state-owned company Électricité de France (EDF) dug more than 100,000 tonnes of radioactively contaminated mud from the bed of the Severn near Hinkley Point. Ignoring widespread protests they dumped it back into the water less than two miles from Cardiff. This was to allow construction of huge inlets and outlets for water to cool the reactors in the new nuclear power station – Hinkley Point C – which EDF is building in Somerset. EDF held an old licence for the 2018 dump but it expired before they could shift their target volume of nearly a million tonnes. They applied to renew the dumping at Cardiff but, because of strong opposition in Wales and more protective Welsh environment law, they switched to a site at Portishead near Bristol. This August the Marine Management Organisation granted a licence for the Portishead operation and dumping immediately began again. Campaigners on both sides of the estuary have now applied for a Judicial Review. The legal challenge identifies many scientific and regulatory issues. This article concerns only one:- the health impact of radioactive particles in the mud. Every nuclear power station in the world vents dust particles. They are licensed to do this. Filters trap fragments bigger than about 5 microns (thousandths of a millimetre) but thousands of billions of smaller particles are released, as data published by the UN show. Particles this size are inhalable and are biologically very mobile. The greatest proportion are made of uranium.
Nation Cymru 10th Oct 2021 read more »