Investigation at Sizewell B after chemical pollutes groundwater system
- Credit: PA
The Environment Agency is investigating an incident at the Sizewell B nuclear power station in which a diluted chemical over-flowed from a tank and led to groundwater contamination.
The incident was reported to the agency by EDF Energy, the plant’s operator, which claimed last night that there was no risk to the environment or public health.
The chemical involved, sodium hypochlorite , is commonly used within a variety of industries to control bacteria in water systems.
At Sizewell B it is used to deter marine organisms, including mussels, from building up in the seawater cooling systems and blocking pipes.
The ground water conditions were returned to normal within 24 hours and at its peak never exceeded the levels found in tap water.
You may also want to watch:
The incident occurred ten days ago and was revealed yesterday at a meeting of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group, set up as a conduit for public information about the nuclear site.
Martin Cubitt, Sizewell B plant manager, said the use of the chemical was “akin to dosing tap water with chlorine”.
- 1 ‘Demolition Man’ Cook tells vast majority of Ipswich Town squad to find new clubs
- 2 Mum-of-four with 'beautiful soul' dies after collapsing in the street
- 3 Takeaway contaminated food with raw meat and sold items past use-by date
- 4 Film crews spotted in Ipswich town centre
- 5 Royal visit from Princess Anne marks Suffolk Wildlife Trust 60th anniversary
- 6 Couple transform historic building near coast into new bed and breakfast
- 7 Ipswich U18s fall to second-half Liverpool goals - how the FA Youth Cup semi-final unfolded....
- 8 Steam locomotive back in Suffolk for anniversary trips
- 9 'Beautiful inside and out': Tragedy as mum dies 48 hours after giving birth
- 10 'Larger-than-life' Ipswich drama teacher Gloria Henshall dies
Groundwater samples had been taken from the company-owned borehole adjacent to the hypochlorite plant and a concentration of only 0.17 parts per million had been detected..
“This can be compared with a value of up to one part per million added to local drinking water as a dosing agent by the local water utility and the World Health Organisation guideline maximum of five parts per million,” Mr Cubitt said.
The chemical was added to seawater stored in the tank at a rate of 1,000 parts per million.
The tank was surrounded by a concrete bund but this failed to prevent an overflow into the surrounding area.
“The cause of the spill is being investigated and engineers at the station will continue to monitor boreholes for traces of the chemical,” Mr Cubitt added.
It is the first “top tier” chemical incident at Sizewell B for more than four years.
The Environment Agency said it was monitoring the situation.