Hinkley Point Update

Blog post February 6 2014

Recent news that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority want to bring nuclear waste from Oldbury power station (north of Bristol) to be stored at Hinkley Point, suggest that official thinking regarding nuclear waste is very worrying for people in Somerset. 

Hinkley Point A has been in a state of being decommissioned since 2004, and will require a new ‘dissolution plant’ to process fuel element debris (known as FED), a process that will take five years. The NDA want to bring similar material from Oldbury, adding two and a half years to the operational life of the proposed plant, and whilst they are at it they want to store intermediate waste from Oldbury (contaminated materials of various sorts) at Hinkley Point as well.

West Somerset District Council is opposing the importation of any nuclear waste that does not originate at Hinkley.

No doubt the NDA assume that there will be a sizeable nuclear waste storage facility at Hinkley Point once a third nuclear power plant has been constructed there; so if this proposal to bring in outside waste goes ahead, it may well not be the first. Current plans include the retention of nuclear waste from Hinkley C on site, for a period of up to (and probably well beyond) 160 years.

The latest news on Hinkley C, however, is that the European Union has issued a report raising serious questions about the proposed power station’s finances. The level of subsidy offered to EDF by the UK government may well breach EU competition rules.

British news outlets have been remarkably quiet about this development, though Tories in the local press have suggested that it is just ‘another’ case of the EU acting to the detriment of Great Britain.

EDF are not due to make their own final decision regarding finance for Hinkley Point until July, and more and more questions are being raised about the wisdom of going ahead with such an expensive and risky project.

Meanwhile in Glastonbury, Town Councillors are feeling snubbed by EDF, who have ignored their request for a speaker to answer the community’s questions concerning the proposed power station. They are planning to approach other local councils, with a view to forming a united front to oppose EDF’s plans.