Developer rejects claims of enriched uranium on Somerset nuclear power plant site

A claim that enriched uranium is present on the site proposed for a new nuclear power station in Somerset has been dismissed as "unfounded and irresponsible" by the developer.

The Environment Agency also questioned the claim by independent research group Green Audit, which said it reached the conclusion by analysed data in developer EDF Energy's own Environmental Impact Statement.

Professor Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, carried out the research and said it was possible to show the two kilometre site "contained approximately 10 tonnes of enriched uranium reactor fuel".

Prof Busby said the findings were four times higher than the average expected in the area as defined by Environment Agency reports.

But EDF has said there is no possibility of enriched uranium being on the site, and that Professor Busby's flawed analysis has produced findings no reputable scientific analysis would support.

In his report, Prof Busby said the findings could suggest a source for increased rates of child and adult leukaemia and other cancers which Green Audit claims for areas of Burnham-on-Sea downwind of Hinkley Point.

Campaigners have now lobbied West Somerset Council, which will debate EDF's plans, in an attempt to get work halted.

Anti-nuclear campaigner, Cecily Collingridge,
with the report on Hinkley Point, and colleagues Katy Attwater and Carol Richards

Photo from

Cecily Collingridge, of Bridgwater, said: "The origin of the enriched uranium must be independently investigated with more sampling and analysis."

However, an EDF spokesman said: "It is, quite simply, an incredible allegation because of the nature of enriched uranium and the way materials are handled at Hinkley Point B power station."

As the report was being studied yesterday, energy minister Charles Hendry was further up the Bristol Channel stating land next to the River Severn was appropriate for new nuclear reactors.

He spent several hours at the existing Oldbury atomic station, a day after he met representatives from eight sites around the country which are being considered for new nuclear stations to help meet Britain's energy demands.



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Page Updated 14-Jan-2011