Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Essex: Last-ditch efforts to stop nuclear waste ‘dumping’ into the Blackwater Estuary

A BANNG protest off the Mersea Island coast, with Bradwell Power Station in the background.

A BANNG protest off the Mersea Island coast, with Bradwell Power Station in the background.

Last-ditch efforts are being made to stop a new form of nuclear waste being pumped into the Blackwater estuary at Bradwell.

shares

From Thursday waste from Fuel Element Debris (FED) treatment is due to be released into the river on each high tide for 18 months.

The process involves the ends of fuel rods used in nuclear power station reactors being dissolved in acid to bring them within safe levels of radioactivity and then releasing the waste into waterways.

The Bradwell Against New Nuclear Group and supporters have launched 11th hour legal challenges and made last pleas to the authorities, including site operators Magnox and regulators the Environment Agency (EA) to halt the process.

It is concerned about the impact the waste could have on the environment, including Mersea oysterbeds, and also those who use Bradwell Marina who BANNG say could be sailing or swimming in nuclear debris.

The area was recently made a Marine Conservation Zone, which BANNG calls “a toothless policy”.

Graham Farley, who has been supporting BANNG with legal action, said: “There was much criticism over the actions of the EA in respect of flooding. MPs criticised the EA for not listening, it seems as though they haven’t learnt anything from that episode if this is how they react to something so emotive as nuclear waste and its effect on people and the environment.

“This is purely a cost-saving exercise as the normal route is to store the waste in sealed yellow bins which eventually end up in long term central storage.

“The FED plant will be removed after 18 months and moved elsewhere. All to save money.”

Peter Clements, mayor of West Mersea, added: “We always say the River Blackwater is unsuitable for the discharge of waste because it takes 10 days to discharge so whatever they put in it sticks.

“The oyster industry has recovered remarkably since they stopped the power station so as far as we are concerned there’s no doubt about the effects it would have on the environment, and this could knock back that recovery a lot.

“There is a lot of smoke and mirrors and one does not know how far you can trust what they say.”

An EA spokesman said: “Nuclear power stations discharge within strict permitted limits and monitored. Whilst the FED process is new to the Bradwell site, the associated discharge and its impact on the estuary is well understood.

“We take account of impacts in the local environment when setting limits and carry out our own environmental monitoring in the local area to determine levels of radioactivity in the estuary. These continue to demonstrate that levels in the environment around Bradwell remain very low.”

A Magnox spokesman said: “Magnox has been engaged with local stakeholders on its proposals for treating FED as part of the work to decommission the site for a number of years.

“The process, which is based on the safe and successful dissolution experience elsewhere, will reduce the volume of FED by more than 90%. The dissolved metal will be treated and a solid waste will be retained on the site.

“The remaining effluent will be discharged within authorised limits agreed by the EA. Discharges to the estuary within agreed safe limits have been taking place regularly for more than 50 years and are continuing as the site is decommissioned. 

“Magnox is sensitive to the local environments in which it operates and is committed to decommissioning Bradwell with the highest regard to safety and the environment. Our work programme is fully compliant with regulatory requirements and we will ensure it remains so as clean-up of the site continues.”

shares

1 comment

  • this is an obscenity ...where are the Greenpeace ships?! A Marine Conservation Zone doesnt recognise nuclear crapola...because if you don't mention it it's not there, right? We are being taken for a radioactive ride and it's getting more and more out of control.

    Report this comment

    Marianne B

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The thatched house in Langham which was badly damaged by a fire.

A blaze at a thatched cottage in a village near the Suffolk/Essex border tackled by firefighters for around seven hours overnight has left a family homeless.

Gena Moore from Nelson’s Journey with Simon and Anne Beckett-Allen of Rosedale Funeral Home

A funeral home with branches in north Suffolk has continued its support for local bereaved children by commissioning a doll’s house style church to help support workers explain what happens at a funeral.

Felixstowe Road Runners

Runners from Suffolk and Essex will once again be flocking to the Capital, this weekend, to take part in the 35th staging of the London Marthon.

Man wanted in connection with a burglary at Playford Court in Sudbury

CCTV images of a man wanted over thefts from properties at sheltered housing complexes in Sudbury.

Cyclists taking part in the Suffolk Sunrise 100 bike ride for children's charity Action Medical Research in 2012

More than 1,300 cyclists are expected to line up for the start of a fundraising ride through the Suffolk countryside in just over a fortnight.

MRSA rates revealed

Drastic measures to tackle potentially life-threatening bugs have significantly reduced outbreaks in our hospitals, an investigation has found.

Police remain outside The Bull pub in Haverhill after an earlier stabbing.

A man was stabbed in Haverhill in the early hours of this morning.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie

A Victoria Cross recipient credited with turning defeat into victory at Gallipoli will be honoured in his home village this weekend – 100 years after he died in battle.

Julie Myerson

It was World Book Night this week. We asked some of our favourite local authors for the three books they’d most want on a desert island. Would you choose the ones they did?

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans

Ipswich Town’s Supporters Club has said it is “great news” that owner Marcus Evans’ wealth has gone up almost 10% – to £765million.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages