Cautious welcome for Environmental Impact Assessment on nuclear mud dumping

In response to news that EDF [see statement below] had decided to carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment regarding plans to dump mud in Welsh waters from the Hinkley nuclear power station in Somerset, Plaid Cymru’s shadow environment minister Llyr Gruffydd said:

“There is genuine concern among people in Wales about the proposed dumping of mud from Hinkley nuclear power station to the sea bed near Cardiff. 

“Just last week I met with Natural Resources Wales to raise these legitimate concerns and question them about any future dumping by EDF. Among those concerns are the intensity of the testing and the need to ensure there is a transparent and open process so that the public can have confidence in the way this decision is made.

“In that meeting I sought assurances that a full environmental Impact Assessment would be undertaken prior to any further dumping off Cardiff as well as comprehensive and more detailed sampling. So I welcome this announcement of a full EIA as a step in the right direction.

“The people of Wales need every assurance possible that any dumping of mud is safe for both people and marine life.

“Trust in our regulatory authorities is paramount and I will continue to push for the maximum transparency and openness in publicising all relevant documents, so that scientists and concerned communities can assess the situation for themselves.

“As things stand there is no existing application for further dumping but there is an ongoing public consultation that is likely to report back before November.”

Good afternoon,

I wanted to let you know that Hinkley Point C has decided to carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as part of its licence application to dispose of mud dredged in the Bristol Channel. This is in addition to a testing plan approved by Natural Resources Wales which goes above and beyond internationally recognised best practice. Hinkley Point has decided to carry out the EIA in order to provide the public with further reassurance that all concerns have been addressed. 

A licence is required for the planned second phase of dredging off the Somerset site and disposal of mud at the Cardiff Grounds disposal site. Further dredging is needed before placing of the Low Velocity Intake Heads, drilling of shafts for the cooling water system, the installation of a fish recovery and return system and maintenance dredging at the jetty. 

Previous testing has shown that this mud is no different to mud found elsewhere in the Bristol Channel and is not classed as radioactive under UK law. EDF wants to reassure the public of the safety of this activity and has listened carefully to the concerns and questions that were raised during the first phase of dredging activities. 

Hinkley Point C has commissioned CEFAS, the UK Government’s marine science experts, to undertake analysis on further sediment samples following approval of the sampling plan, which was subject to public consultation. CEFAS has some of the most advanced radiation testing equipment in the world. 

For this second phase of dredging, we intend to go further than normal regulatory requirements in order to provide the public with additional reassurance. We have proposed a testing plan that goes above and beyond internationally recognised best practice, with more samples at greater depth and with a greater range of analysis – including tests for pure alpha emitting particles and tritium. 

We also intend to conduct a full Environmental Impact Assessment as part of our disposal licence application. We believe it is right to go beyond technical arguments to provide the necessary public confidence that all concerns have been addressed.” 

No dredging activity is planned until 2021 and will require approval of the testing plan, analysis of the results, an application being made, and a licence issued. 

More information on the dredging can be found at:

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

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