Campaigners say sediment has not been tested properly and may do ‘irreversible harm’
An eclectic group of activists including scientists, surfers and a member of the Welsh band Super Furry Animals is attempting to halt the dumping of “nuclear mud” excavated as part of the vast Hinkley Point C construction project.
The activists are appearing in court in Cardiff on Tuesday to try to obtain an injunction to stop 300,000 tonnes of sediment from the power station site in Somerset being disposed of a mile and half from the Welsh capital.
Campaigners claim the mud has not been tested properly and could contain particles that may pose a health risk. They have dubbed the sediment “nuclear mud” and nicknamed the sea off Cardiff “Geiger Bay”, a play on “Tiger Bay”, the old slang name for the city’s docklands. One of their main concerns is that the sediment could be washed ashore in a storm.
EDF Energy, which is building Hinkley Point C on the English side of the Bristol Channel, along with the Welsh government and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have insisted the mud is safe.
Ciarán said he did not have faith in the international standards that EDF, by which the Welsh government and NRW said they were bound. “They try to convince us that the mud is safe and there’s nothing to worry about but I can’t take the nuclear industry’s word for it.
“The Welsh government has had ample opportunity to stop it but they haven’t. They’ve put their heads in the mud rather than sand.”
Among those backing the objectors is the Emeritus Prof Keith Barnham, a distinguished research fellow in the physics department at Imperial College London, who argues it is possible that large amounts of uranium and dangerous levels of plutonium could have reached the mud when cooling water from the decommissioned Hinkley Point A was discharged.
Surfers from the Gower peninsula to the west of Cardiff were among those who joined a demonstration against the dump at the Welsh assembly last week.
Read more at Activists call for halt to ‘nuclear mud’ dumping off Wales