NEW procedures for handling nuclear waste at Hinkley Point A - which could see some materials released into the sea - have been criticised by Burnham and Highbridge's MP.

Magnox, the company managing the decommissioning of the plant, is developing plans to introduce by 2015 a process called dissolution, to reduce the amount of waste on site.

The process involves putting nuclear materials in acid to emit low-risk gases and liquids, which could then be released into the sea.

A spokesman for Magnox South Sites said this procedure was the safest option for the environment and the radioactivity of the by-products would be at a very low level.

The spokesman said: “We are heavily regulated by the Office of Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency, and safety is our number one priority.

“Following the dissolution process, the leftovers are then stored but the volumes are hugely reduced than if using other methods.”

However, Burnham and Highbridge MP Tessa Munt said she was staggered by the proposals.

She said: “I have always been opposed to nuclear power because of the problem of what to do with waste, and I am not sure or aware there has been a solution to this problem anywhere else in the world.”

A spokesman for the anti-nuclear campaign group Stop Hinkley added: “Our biggest concern is that this wasn't foretold.

“It's a bit like they are coming up with solutions for decommissioning after the power stations are built.”

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