PLANS to dump nuclear waste from three UK plants at Hinkley Point have been revealed.

Anti-nuclear campaigners have slammed the idea as “absolute madness”.

They claim the move could lead to even more waste being sent to Bridgwater and fear lorries transporting the material in concrete boxes from as far as Suffolk and Kent could be targeted by terrorists.

Magnox, which operates Hinkley A and has come up with the proposal, says the scheme is a draft and no decision has yet been taken.

It says this plan to tackle the UK’s nuclear waste would be cheaper than the current system by £45million but stresses that safety, security and the environment will not be compromised.

The proposals will be discussed this Friday at a meeting of the Site Stakeholder Group set up to monitor Hinkley’s development and effects on the surrounding area.

Its members consist of parish, district and county councillors as well as the pressure group Parents Concerned About Hinkley.

Jo Brown, from the group, said turning Hinkley into a dump for other plants’ nuclear waste was “appalling and highly dangerous”.

“There are all sorts of hazards in processing nuclear waste so to bring in more from other plants is sheer madness,” she warned.

“Why should we be turned into a dumping ground? It is absolute madness to even consider the matter.”


Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

THE type of concrete box used to store nuclear waste.

Magnox has suggested using concrete boxes instead of metal ones it originally proposed, saying this would save £15million while not compromising safety.

But Ms Brown added: “It seems it’s all about money.

“They just seem to want to cut corners without thinking about the safety issues.”

Roy Pumfrey from Stop Hinkley, which has campaigned vigorously against the plant, was equally scathing: He said: “It is very worrying that the proposed metal boxes are to be replaced by concrete ones which may be cheaper but are they safer?

“I’m sure we’ll all sleep soundly in our beds at night because concrete never crumbles or cracks, does it?

“The fact that these lorries will be carrying radioactive waste all the way from Dungeness in Kent or Sizewell in Suffolk through Bridgwater is crazy. They could be a target for terrorists. Will they have an armed police escort or will it just be one driver and his highly toxic load?

“Transporting nuclear waste is a hazardous matter so to add to the problems by bringing in lorryloads from around the country is not good news for people or the environment.

“Will it be the start of even more loads being shipped our way?”

Magnox will tell stakeholders it will save £30million by scrapping plans to build a plant at Hinkley to process fuel element debris (FED) or to import the waste from Oldbery.

It also plans to expand by a third its store housing intermediate level waste (ILW) and to consider importing this material from three other plants.

Cllr Michael Caswell, who chairs the stakeholders group, welcomed Magnox’s revised plans.

“I’m glad they no longer want to build a FED plant at Hinkley or bring in the same material from Oldbury.

“At this stage, Magnox are only considering bringing ILWfrom other plants but even if they do, it will only mean around 25 lorryloads over a two-year period.

“The alternative also being looked at is to take the milling machine at Hinkley out to the other sites so no waste has to come here.”

Cllr Caswell, who represents the Quantocks Ward on Sedgmoor District Council, added he had “no worries” that concrete would replace the proposed metal boxes.

“If Magnox had not initially considered the metal boxes, they would have been criticised for not looking at every opportunity to package the material.

“I have no concerns about the safety of the concrete boxes.”

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Hinkley contract workers will bring huge boost to economy, says EDF

HINKLEY Point in Somerset.

Tony Moore, Magnox chief operating officer, England, said: “Safety and the environment remain our top priorities as we consider amending the Magnox waste strategy to safely deliver the best value for the taxpayer.

“We are grateful for the time and input our local stakeholders have provided to date, and will continue to work closely with them as our plans progress.”

A spokesman confirmed Hinkley would only take around 25 lorryloads over a two-year period.

She added: “We have every confidence in the security of our transport.

There are appropriate security measures in place and we are regulated nationally by the Office for Nuclear Regulation as part of an international scheme on this.

“Magnox has safely and securely transported nuclear material and waste between sites, in compliance with these regulations, for over 50 years.”