The mudflats of the dumping ground – the so-called “Cardiff Grounds” – a mile east of  Penarth – are exposed at low tides

The French-owned electricity company EDF has told a Welsh Assembly committee that the  300,000 tonnes of mud it wants to dump in the sea off Penarth from the site of the 3 Hinkley Point nuclear power stations is “not radioactive“.

EDF claims that the mud – which is to be dredged from the shore at the Hinkley Point  Nuclear site on the Somerset side of the Bristol Channel – “poses no threat to human health or to the environment”.

The nuclear mud dumping site – marked in red – s just a mile off the Penarth shore.

The state-owned French firm says worries that the mud  (which is due to be dumped just a mile offshore from Penarth – could be “toxic” are “wrong, alarmist – and go against all internationally-accepted scientific evidence”.

EDF says the Hinkley Point mud has been “tested independently to highly conservative standards” – a claim which is strongly disputed by other experts who say that much more thorough tests need to be carried out tests need to be carried out. They believe the mud   could have become contaminated by radioactive  discharges from Hinkley Point’s existing nuclear power stations.

A cargo of large rocks for the new jetty passes Penarth en route for the nuclear facility’s new jetty being built across the channel at Hinkley Point, Somerset

The dredging operation is to enable a new jetty to be built on the shoreline at Hinkley Point for the area’s 3rd nuclear power station – the £19,600,000,000 “Hinkley C” station.

Chris Fayers of EDF

As already reported by PDN [ see ] – last month EDF’s head of environment Chris Fayers – received a grilling from the Vale of Glamorgan Council .

In this second inquisition Fayers  had to try to convince members of a Welsh Assembly “scrutiny committee” that there is really nothing to worry about .

A public on-line petition initiated by Welsh expert Tim Deere Jones which calls for a suspension of the marine licence to permit dumping off Penarth –  has attracted 7,171 signatures.

A second petition by Greenpeace has been signed by more than 87,000 people. An open letter has also been presented to Energy Secretary Lesley Griffiths  on behalf of a coalition of 10 international ocean conservation charities.


It’s already been established that no environmental impact assessment has been carried on the scheme to dump the sediment at the disposal site –  known as “Cardiff Grounds” – just a mile out to sea from Penarth.

Penarth shingle shore is a popular attraction for residents and visitors

A presentation prepared for AMs by EDF showed that someone spending 4 hours a day, 365 days a year on the shore at Penarth  – and who eats 65 kilogrammes of locally-caught fish a year – would receive 90% of their annual naturally-occurring  radiological dose  from the environment – and the remaining 10% from artificial sources.

The theoretical exposure to the radioactivity in the sediment would include anything inhaled from any sediment that might accumulate on the Penarth shore.

Simon Batey won 2nd prize for catching this beautiful 15.69 lb cod in last month’s Cardiff Bay Yacht Club Open Cod competition whilst fishing from Andrew Alsop’s boat “White Water”. Local anglers are concerned about the possible effect of nuclear mud dumping on local fish stocks.  (Photo John Clark)

EDF say that combining natural and artificial levels of radioactivity together, any exposure would be 10,000 times LESS what an average airline pilot receives every year. than an airline pilot’s annual dose. It would also be 750 times LESS than the average dose received by a resident of Pembrokeshire due to naturally occurring Radon gas in local rocks.

Dr David Richards, a reader in physical geography at the University of Bristol told the Welsh Assembly committee that radioactivity in the Hinkley Point mud was no greater than on the salt marshes near the coast at Portishead and Sand Bay – “barely above background radiation” he said. Dr Richards says public needs to understand better what was constitutes an acceptable dose of radioactivity.

Marine pollution consultant Tim Deere-Jones

However Welsh expert Tim Deere-Jones, a marine pollution consultant, who has spearheaded the campaign against the dumping told AMs “we should be extremely cautious of how we dispose of this sediment.”

Mr Deere Jones says the mud should be left  where it is – at Hinkley Point – and not dumped off Penarth.

Now the chairman of the Welsh Assembly’s environment committee Mike Hedges  has called for an independent third-party to test samples of the sediment before any of it is moved – or dumped.


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  1. Penarth realist says:

    If it’s not radioactive then it can be spread on the Somerset Levels. I’m sure it will help the grass grow a treat and produce some spectacular livestock.

  2. John Powell says:

    Once this muck is dumped, it – and whatever is in it – is there for generations potentially.
    If it’s so safe why not just dump it on the much closer beach at Weston?!
    And then shut the wretched reactor down too.
    And no, I am not a green or a hippy – I support our having nuclear weapons
    but not making our homeland any more radioactive.
    For the patronising scientists in the nuclear lobby pay-chain – is the supposedly ‘safe’ concentration uniform throughout the muck or are there big-spots. If not, how do you know unless you measure every cubic inch and if so, what then?

  3. Capel Celyn says:

    If it’s that safe why can’t they keep it over Hinkley Point way?
    Or let the French have it.
    Why should it come to the Welsh side?
    After all these years, we’re still the stooge taking everyone else’s c**p.

    • The Tax payer says:

      Fully agree with this comment. Can’t understand why spend all that money shipping up to Cardiff when it can just be dumped off Hinckley Point if it’s so safe ?? Or better still ship it over to France 👍

  4. Phil Dawson says:

    I ask again, why is it necessary to choose to dump a third of a million tons of mud a mile off the Penarth shore in fast-flowing shallow water near to shipping lanes which need constant dredging at the best of times when it could just as easily be dumped in deep water mid-channel between Swansea and Ilfracombe where it will have no effect whatsoever on anything or anyone?

  5. Scootergirl says:

    Well some one must be getting a big brown envelope, if it’s that safe then they can dump it near where it came from. WE DONT WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Max Wallis says:

    The MMO said consider dumping on land, but English Nature said (with no evidence) they wanted the mud retained within the Severn Estuary (strange, when Bridgewater Bay is outside the Severn Estuary SAC). Informed there is only one licensed disposal site there, they imposed the condition that it must be dumped in the Cardiff Grounds, otherwise excavating the mud to lay giant discharge pipes is stopped.
    Though the Cardiff Groups is designated a disposal site, it seems to function as a dispersal site – mud there is quickly swept away in the currents, even if bricks etc. would stay. When dregings are dumped there, much of them are swept away in the currents before they reach the bottom. While I asked NRW for evidence they have for it serving for disposal rather than dispersal, they are extremely slow to respond even though the issue is live..

  7. Anyone's For a Fiver says:

    May I ask what incentive there is to agree to 300,000 tonnes of radioactive mud being dumped in Cardiff Grounds?
    I haven’t heard talk of any money but will the Assembly receive a payment for this “disposal service” and if so, how much?
    I’m interested to hear what price the Welsh Government puts on its country – its sea, wider environment and the health of its people for generations to come.

  8. Scootergirl says:

    The latest comment on this is that “The French state that this waste is not toxic” what amazing goods News this is because perhaps now Hinkley can take it over to France to be dumped as they say it’s okay.

  9. Non, merci says:

    If I was fishing there for a living, I wouldn’t be happy.
    Who’s going to want to eat anything caught in these waters once this stuff starts permeating the channel?
    Time to start asking where your supper was caught.
    Better safe than sorry in my opinion – even if the Assembly appears to be happy throwing caution – and radioactive mud – to the winds.

  10. cogan nomen says:

    I reckon , it’s a job for life .
    Dredge mud . Dump upstream . Go back .
    A month later , go back and re-dredge .
    Meanwhile , if mud is radioactive ,
    The skipper can be checked to prove it .

  11. Mike Yorke says:

    Whenever the people who decided this was a good idea are sat together and about to eat a meal……serve them fish caught near these waters……and tell them just as you place the dish in front of them. I wonder how many will eat it?

  12. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I suppose that one advantage will be that the bloke in the picture will be able to track down future cod catches in the water by following the glow before casting his line.

  13. s'vodden says:

    Graham Vodden says: Having read the various articles and the French assessment of the propose
    dumping of the “MUD” from HINKEY POINT BEACH.I would say that this MUD will probably be
    no more radioactive than your average TV. Having said that there is all-ready a problem with MUD
    being dumped at the North Cardiff buoy.
    In the days of the Bucket / Chain dredgers with their attending MUD hoppers, the mud dredged
    from the Cardiff dock entrance was taken well out to the Middle Pool Buoy before it was dumped
    in the main current where it would disperse. Also the two currents from the Ely and the Taff would Scour out Penarth Beach and keep it MUD free.
    What we have today is very different . The MUD from the Queens entrance is being vacuumed up
    by these vacuum dredgers and dumped at the North Cardiff Buoy,then the main current of the
    Seven brings a large % of it back on to Penarth Beach. Since the currents from the Ely and the
    Taff have been eliminated by the building of the Barrage this MUD just builds up on the Penarth
    foreshore.In the 55 years that I have been fishing Penarth Beach I have never seen so much on
    MUD. on our beach.
    What I would like to know is – , Who gave the instruction to dump this MUD at the North Cardiff Buoy.
    Graham Vodden.

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