Halt work for safety's sake
West Somerset Free Press, 11th March 2011
Sir, Some weeks ago Professor Busby found that EdF documents showed ten tonnes of enriched uranium peppered over the proposed site for Hinkley C. He said this could be harmful to workers and residents if the ground is disturbed for construction work. He also found the EdF analysis used confused radiological terms and missed out crucial monitoring of the topsoil over the whole study area despite monitoring at greater depths.
It's no surprise that EdF now chooses to ignore the voluntary industry code on contaminated land whereby local concerned people are invited to discuss at an early stage how the land is managed. But it's more alarming that the Environment Agency takes the same dismissive approach to holding an early meeting, despite having signed up to the 'Safegrounds' code of conduct, and has refused to criticise EdF over its inadequate study. Sadly the pollution regulator gives the impression of wanting to play down the pollution issue.
The agency said this week that it has taken local worries seriously by sampling some points on the Hinkley land, but we don't know whether this will be any more thorough than the hashed EdF monitoring or some of its other half-hearted responses.
A recent EdF letter says most of the contaminated land is not yet a licensed nuclear site and therefore not subject to the code. It refers campaigners to the Hinkley Site Stakeholder Group but it's hard to have confidence in this suggestion.
The chairman of this group astonishingly once ruled out of order my question as to why the Environment Agency had taken some five weeks to visit a radioactive spot on nearby Kilve beach by which time the pollution had been washed away.
To promote confidence all parties should meet to swap information and decide jointly and openly on how to manage the land.
Meanwhile for safety's sake, all preliminary work should be halted on the proposed site.
Jim Duffy, Surrey