Hinkley Point C: Dust cloud released as nuclear site silo damaged

10 June 2020

A tower at the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor site has been damaged, releasing a dust cloud in the area.

A spokesperson for EDF, which is building the site, said the silo suffered structural damage at about 07:30 BST.

They said the tower, which was being used to make concrete, did not collapse and nobody was injured.

The emergency services were not required and an investigation into the cause is underway.

A large dust cloud was caused because the silo contained finely ground particles of Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBS), which are added to the concrete mix, the spokesperson said.

The BBC understands the weight of the particles caused the bottom to fall out of the silo.

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EDF's Dire Financial Circumstances Forcing Them to put Lives at Risk: Why isn't the Government telling them to stop?

25 March 2020

The Stop Hinkley Campaign today expressed its horror that the 4,000-strong workforce at the Hinkley Point C construction site is set to continue working during the Coronavirus Lockdown.

“This is putting lives at risk right across Somerset and the whole of the country. Why hasn’t the Prime Minister ordered them to stay at home – is he just pandering to the nuclear lobby?” said Stop Hinkley Spokesperson, Katy Attwater.

EDF Energy says it is taking “extra steps” to safeguard the health of workers. It is planning body temperature checks on all workers entering the site, has banned handshakes and agreed to halve the number of people travelling on each bus.

Attwater continued: “While the rest of the country is in lockdown, EDF fails to acknowledge that if someone has developed a fever they have been incubating and spreading the virus for days beforehand. Monitoring for fever is leaving it too late. Who is advising them on best practice?”

“EDF is irresponsible with its decisions on climate change, marine protection, archaeological heritage, and future safety of the people in Somerset. Now it is failing to address the COVID-19 emergency adequately. They need to stop work at HPC now to protect workers and local people.”

There is already concern that the poor state of EDF’s finances means that funding the construction of Hinkley Point C is putting the very existence of the company at risk. The Company has to find £1.45-1.7bn per year until 2026 to finance the construction. It also has to find money to upgrade its 58 French reactors, as well as for funding decommissioning and waste management amongst other things. The concern is that the Company is ignoring the lockdown and putting people’s lives at risk because it can’t afford to lose any more money.

It’s clear that EDF’s business model is unsustainable because it cannot finance life-extensions and clean-up liabilities in France as well as Hinkley Point C. The sensible course would be to abandon the plant now before more public money is wasted.

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Coastal Nuclear Sites Unviable Given Increased Risk of Flooding and Storm Surges.
Remember Fukushima
11th March 2011

10 March 2020

A meeting between representatives of groups opposing new nuclear development, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) the independent nuclear safety regulator, and the Environment Agency discussed how the ONR regulates against external hazards. However, fears about the impact of sea level rise on proposed new nuclear power stations at Hinkley in Somerset, Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex remain. The meeting was organised by the ONR in response to questions and a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the Stop Hinkley Campaign to the ONR in September 2018.

According to minutes of meetings held by ONR's group of climate change experts, projections of sea level rise for the year 2100 contain "considerable uncertainty" and " small changes to UK storm systems can alter the height of storm surges significantly". Crucially, sea level has a huge effect on the severity of storm surges. An increase in sea level of one metre could mean that a storm of a severity currently expected only once every thousand years is likely to occur once every decade.

The meeting took place in Bridgwater on 28th January 2020. Stop Hinkley was joined by Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) and Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG). The groups are questioning the viability of the three coastal sites which are all vulnerable to the impacts of flooding, storm surges and coastal processes which will inevitably intensify in coming years.

Flooding can be catastrophic to a nuclear power plant because it can knock out its electrical systems, disabling its cooling mechanisms and leading to overheating and possible meltdown and a dangerous release of radioactivity. Flooding at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan as a result of the March 2011 tsunami caused severe damage to several of the plant's reactors and only narrowly avoided a catastrophic release of radioactivity that could have forced the evacuation of 50 million people.

Given the latest research on the impact of storm surges the groups are also questioning whether the current policy of ‘managed adaptation' to sea level rise remains justifiable. For instance, at Hinkley Point C EDF is providing space for a flood defence barrier in addition to the sea wall. This “set-back wall”, once built, would provide an additional 2 metres height flood defence above the platform level. But the question that needs to be addressed is whether these further flood protection measures can be put in place fast enough to deal with unexpected and unpredicted storm surges in future - bearing in mind the likely need to protect high level nuclear waste on site until 2150 and beyond.

Stop Hinkley spokesperson Katy Attwater says: “The Hinkley Point C (HPC) sea wall is all that stands between the unknown ravages of climate change and two of the most advanced untested reactors built in the world so far. The wall looks only slightly higher than the one for Hinkley Point A which is frequently overtopped by waves and was built half a century ago. Consumers could save around £50bn if construction of HPC stopped now, but if construction continues the back-stop wall should be built now not later. Storm surges don't come to order.”

Chris Wilson, on behalf of TASC said “TASC are expecting EDF to submit its Development Consent Order (DCO) for Sizewell C imminently but consider this will be premature in the absence of a viable National Policy Statement (NPS) for the siting of new nuclear power stations. The government consulted on a revised NPS two years ago and TASC's response was that, in view of the uncertainties relating to the impact of climate change, the proposed policy is not fit for purpose and the new policy should automatically rule out sites that are already in areas at highest flood risk-those in flood zones 2 and 3, such as Sizewell and Bradwell. This common-sense approach would have ruled out Hinkley Point as well.”

Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG, commented: “Of the three sites, Bradwell is at a very early stage. Its low-lying situation poses risks to marine life, and concerns for safety and security of the surrounding region such that it would seem misguided to pursue the project further. The regulators have made it clear that there are major obstacles to be overcome and issues to be resolved. In the light of recent climate change forecasts continuing to proceed with nuclear development at this – or at either of the other two sites - would seem both foolish and irresponsible.”

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Stop Hinkley are very sorry to learn of the death of one of our founders, Danielle Grunberg.

She died at her home in Nyons, France in August 2019

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Somerset: New Home of Fracking and Unconventional oil and Gas Industry?
Did you know that areas in Somerset have been licensed for onshore unconventional oil and gas drilling/exploration, including fracking? Well, neither did we until recently! How can such a significant environmental issue be unknown.
Stop Hinkley membership leafletDownload this leaflet from Frack Free Exmoor, Quantocks and Sedgemoor which explains everything you need to know. EQS Frack Free, Somerset

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A Tale of Nuclear Dreams!

Some dreams come true; others turn to disaster and turn into nightmares. Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been a dream to many politicians, is it about to come true?
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What will be the total cost of nuclear waste?
We won't know until the final bill has been totted up in thousands of years. EdF won't take on that liability. EdF and the UK government are planning to dump it onto future generations.

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