Sea swimmers protest Hinkley Point C mud dredging near Portishead
- Credit: Richard Sergeant
A group of local sea swimmers took to the rocks at Battery Point in Portishead to raise awareness of Hinkley Point C mud dredging near the town this month.
The town's residents say they are now experiencing an increase in marine traffic and much more as a result of the mud dredging, which started this month, and those aged 15 to 80 took part in the gathering on August 16.
On July 31, The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) gave
to Hinkley Point C to use the licenced off-shore Portishead disposal site to deposit more than 300,000 cubic meters (m3) of sediment, as well as maintenance dredge to a maximum of 185,000m3.
EDF Energy, the company which is building the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C, said the sediment it is disposing of is ‘not radioactive under law’. However, campaigning groups point out the government’s official radioactivity monitoring reports annually confirm the presence of human-made radioactivity, derived largely from more than 50 years of discharges to sea from the Hinkley Point reactors, including plutonium, caesium 137, tritium, technetium 99 and carbon 14 into the Bridgwater Bay sedimentary and marine environment.
Hinkley Point C mud dredging, as part of works to install cooling water intakes in the Bristol Channel, began on August 7. As a result of this, Portishead residents are now complaining of an increase in marine traffic, a louder hum from the heavily-loaded ships, the vibrating noise of the discharge and disturbingly bright lights at night.
Scientists involved with the Geiger Bay group, the non-partisan coalition of scientists, experts, individuals and organisations, also say the MMO must address concerns about the dispersal of the sediment around the Portishead estuary and the transfer of pollutants, both radioactive and chemical, onto the land and into human foodstuffs as well as marine life.
Campaigners in the town are now encouraging others to show their concerns regarding the MMO’s consent to dredge 300,000m3 of sediment into the Bristol Channel.
Portishead locals say they are not reassured by the MMO report and should continue to fight for an injunction to reverse the consent for the mud dredging taking place at the licenced Portishead off-shore site.