Labour Councillor Warns of Plans to Import Nuclear Waste Through Somerset

Labour’s Leigh Redman monitoring Hinkley Point

Plans for Magnox, who operate Hinkley A station, to import radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear power stations across Southern England to Somerset could set a precedent, warns Labour Councillor Leigh Redman who also says this will mean these skips being transported through Bridgwater. Leigh says “I must object to the movement of any radioactive waste down our roads to the site, because this will be a precedent and once open there may be no stopping it. Magnox are saying this is a ‘one off’ and it will not be required again, but the precedent will be set and next time the argument will be preceded by ‘there were no problems last time, it was allowed then’.”

The application to allow a formal proposal to transport intermediate level radioactive waste from several other decommissioning Nuclear power stations to be processed at Hinkley A was approved by Somerset County Council, paving the way for Magnox to formally request the importation of radioactive waste through Bridgwater for the first time EVER.

Route Goes Through Bridgwater

Route would take the skips through Bridgwater

Although for more than 50 years radioactive waste has been transported along a designated route from A & B stations to the railway siding in Bridgwater, C station, by design, is required to hold all radioactive waste on site, this formed part of its original planning application, so NO waste will be transported to or from site once it becomes operational. The communities of Bridgwater have understood this and supported nuclear generation since the first workers arrived in our town to start the building of A station.

Cllr Redman explained “Some months ago Hinkley A station site owners, Magnox, submitted a preliminary enquiry to transport  a number of skips (containers of intermediate radioactive waste) by road from donor sites (donor sites are other nuclear power stations), to their site at Hinkley for processing and long term storage, Magnox have gone out of their way to say that this is a one off, this is to help them make use of space they have in the IWS building, this is a variation of a previous application that granted permission for their Intermediate waste storage facility and fills the space it has. We have been giving (in some cases without a choice) Hinkley sites the benefit of doubt for many years, we are now faced with a proposed change that will test our goodwill. As a local councillor I have been working on the Hinkley C project for more than 8 years, holding them to account, trying to get the best for our communities, at every step fighting against a tribe of legal specialists, paid to get whatever they want through, I have to say there have been victories, there have been times when they have redrawn plans or made minor concessions, but as the recent increase in HGV movements has shown, give them an inch and they will try to eat your whole leg.”

Unprecedented Request

Leigh believes that Magnox are going to be asking for us to give them the benefit of the doubt “They will say that this is only going to be a one off, but sorry, how am I supposed to give my consent for these skips, when to date NO radioactive waste has been moved in this direction, through heavily congested roads, past family homes, to site? I am sorry but I have had my fingers burnt too many times by legal teams, I know that both A&B stations have worked very hard to build good relationships with all the communities around the sites, they have supported charities, helped volunteering for community projects, but in all honesty, I have to say that any trust built up has been eaten away by the abuse of our goodwill displayed by their relations next door. At early consultations residents & Councillors expressed concerns around this unprecedented request.”

Leigh Redman

Leigh concluded “I can’t say that my mind is made up until seeing the full proposal, I will be listening to the proposal when it comes forward, but at the moment allowing the precedent is something, I will not be able to do easily.”

Magnox responds

Hinkley C however, by design, is required to hold all radioactive waste on site, and in planning consent conditions it was agreed no waste would be transported to or from the site once it was operational. Magnox says this change would be a one-off to help them make use of existing storage at Hinkley A rather than building interim storage facilities at other sites. A Magnox spokesman said: “This move will minimise impacts on safety, the environment and cost. Stores would not need to be built at Oldbury, Sizewell or Dungeness. This will result in considerably less construction and demolition work across the Magnox sites, making significant savings for the taxpayer.”.

If approved, the transportation would likely take place between late 2019 and 2022.

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Bernie Grant
Bernie Grant
4 years ago

I’m sorry but I wouldn’t trust anyone who is connected to the nuclear power industry.
We lived in Cannington and were told that people working at Hinckley would not be allowed to park in the village, they lied, I phoned them at least once a month, often twice in a week, giving them car and Van registrations of workers parking in the village, after two years of not being able to park near where we lived, we gave up and moved.

Judith wilcock
Judith wilcock
4 years ago

I agree with Leigh 100%. Please inform us how we can demonstrate total opposition to this decision of Somerset CC.snd insist our LABOUR Bridgwater Council stop it. Thanks.

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