PUBLIC consultation has started surrounding Hinkley Point C – the nuclear power station being built in Somerset - and the use of Cardiff Grounds. 

Today marks the start of the public consultation for EDF's application to dredge and dispose at the Portishead site, which is being conducted by the Marine Management Organisation.

Hinkley Point C is making applications to Natural Resources Wales for the use of the Cardiff Grounds licensed disposal site and to the Marine Management Organisation for the use of the Portishead licensed disposal site.

The decision on which site will be used will be made at a later date, depending on regulatory approval and project schedule.

For this second phase of dredging, the UK Government marine scientific agency (CEFAS) went further than before, testing the mud beyond internationally recognised best practice, with more samples at greater depth and with a greater range of analysis - including tests for pure alpha emitting particles and tritium.

The results confirm previous analysis that the mud is perfectly safe for disposal at sea and poses no risk to humans or the environment.

The results also confirmed that the low levels of radioactivity in the mud is predominantly naturally occurring - as found up and down the Severn Estuary, as well as around the coast of Britain.


The additional artificial radioactivity from a range of human activities is very low.

Campaigners had asked for specific tests to look for plutonium and tritium which are both radioactive elements primarily found as by-products of nuclear reactors, although they do also occur naturally.

The additional alpha (plutonium) and beta (tritium) tests showed that their presence was “insignificant” which means that the amounts are so low as to be barely detectable, even using the most sensitive monitoring equipment.

The results showed that previous tests, using the internationally recognised assessment methodology of gamma spectrometry, had been appropriate to provide a conservative assessment of the very low levels of radioactivity present.

Hinkley Point C also conducted full environmental impact assessments as part of its disposal licence applications.

Those assessments considered the potential impact from dredging and disposal on areas such as the coastal and marine environments, ecology, water quality and navigation.

The environmental impact assessments show that there is no significant environmental impact from either the dredge or disposal activities.