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EDF getting the Point?

Environment Agency Sells out to E.D.F and the Nuclear Industry

The time is upon us when Energy Minister Ed Davey will make his final decision as to whether EDF will be allowed to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley C. However, it looks as though the Environmental Agency (EA) might have already given E.D.F the green light. For on the 13th March they granted them a number of Operational Environmental Permits which are required for the station to operate. These will allow it to: discharge and dispose of radioactive wastes, discharge cooling water and liquid effluents into the Bristol Channel and operate standby power supply systems using diesel generators.

This has removed one of the main obstacles that EDF faced as, prior to this announcement, they had no place to store or dispose of the radioactive nuclear waste that their plant would produce. Campaigners had been hopeful that after the recent rejection by the Cumbrian Council of a bid to allow a geological disposal facility to be built in the Lake District, plans to build a new nuclear power station might be scuppered as there was not anywhere to dispose of the waste. Unfortunately permit number EPR/ZP3690SY gives permission for the operator EDF to receive and dispose of radioactive waste on or from Hinkley Point.

One part of this permit provides for the discharge of treated radioactive waste into the Bristol Channel via the outfall tunnel. No individual limits are specified for these disposal outlets. Meanwhile schedule 23 of the permit allows for both the disposal of radioactive waste on or from the premises and the receipt of radioactive waste for the purpose of disposal. This theoretically could result in waste from the entire country being shipped to Hinkley C.

Surprisingly the Environmental Agency seem unconcerned by this, despite their mission statement claiming that they 'protect and improve the environment and make it a better place for people and wildlife.' They also state that they view nuclear power as a carbon-friendly option, further promoting the greenwash propaganda that the government and the nuclear industry have been spouting instead of recognising that the whole process of obtaining and transporting uranium and the resultant toxic waste is anything but carbon neutral.

Luckily the EA have explored the fact that discharging cooling water into the Bristol Channel may have some detrimental impact on the environment. Their main concerns are those of toxic contamination due to chemicals used in the cooling process, thermal impacts - due to the high temperature of the water that has been used to prevent the reactor from melting down while it produces your electricity - being released into the sea, and entrainment and impingement of fish and planktonic organisms. Unfortunately the EA has deemed these effects to be inconsequential compared to the benfits of heavily subsidised power generation although they do mention that the thermal plume from HP.C will impact sea creatures, in particular the bivalve Macoma balthica which provides the greatest source of bird food within the subtidal and intertidal benthic invertebrate communities.

So despite the grave environmental concerns the EA has decided to give the go ahead to HP.C. This is hardly surprising when they work in partnership with the Office for Nuclear Regulation and in the past have been accused of providing misleading and fudged results when testing for the presence of depleted uranium which has been found around the site at HP.B. Once again the fact that Hinkley Point and the water ways around it have a special protection status or are Special Areas of Conservation (e.g Bridgwater Bay is a Site of Special Scientific Interest) means nothing.

One other interesting fact from this permit is that the EA has noted that between 2019 and  2023, cooling water will be discharged into the Bristol Channel from both Hinkley Point B and C. This is a strange announcement because in 2016 HPB should come to the end of its lifespan and be decommissioned. HP.B is already well past it's sell-by date and although EDF have put in an application to extend it's running time this final decision has apparently not yet been made.

Ed Davey will make his announcement on the 19 March.

There is 1 comment on this story...
Added By: Noonam - 10th April 2013 @ 3:48 PM
blatantly; this many people died, we are looikng at losing this war, America has left us on our own to fight. You see what i mean? I do believe it is time for them to come clean however as this is definitely worse than originally feared, as to whether it was a conspiracy event or not, im still sitting on the fence as to outside intervention in the destruction of the reactors.One last point: can these news programs get people in who actually know what they're talking about? the lady skyping just made it look like a random woman learnt how to use the Wikipedia machine. Get in some actual knowledgeable people or even someone who has just been following developments (if said person was an expert, my apologies, you were VERY badly represented).Luke
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