A security launch was called in tonight to accompany the MV Sloeber as she deposited yet another cargo of allegedly-radioctive mud a just mile offshore from Penarth.
The MV Sloeber is under contract to a subsidiary of the French-owned energy company EDF (Electricity de Francais) which is building the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station on the Somerset Coast, within sight of Penarth.
Hinkley C is the third nuclear power station to be built at the seaside Somerset site. A total of more than 320,000 tonnes of mud – which campaigners say could be radioactive – is being dredged from a site just off-shore of the nuclear complex.
The mud is then being transported across the Bristol Channel to be dropped into Welsh waters at the Cardiff Grounds – just a mile from Penarth.
The Welsh Labour Government gave its permission for the mud-dumping operation and then ignored a 7,000 signature petition against the scheme and also curtailed debate on the issue in the Welsh Assembly.
Despite a protest outside the Welsh Assembly on August Bank Holiday Monday not one Labour MP, Labour Assembly Member or Labour councillor has raised any objection to the operation although the mud-dumping has been vigorously opposed by the Conservative-run Vale of Glamorgan Council.
The MV Sloeber – a Belgian owned motor hopper can load up to 2,000 tonnes of mud at a time . The vessel deposits the mud on the Cardiff Grounds by splitting its hull lengthways into two halves and allowing whatever is in its hold to be fall into the sea.
Tonight Sloeber had company as she dumped her cargo in the shallow Cardiff Grounds off Penarth. The high-speed launch “Nemesis” joined her at the dumping site presumably as a precaution against any possible interference with the mud-dumping operation.
Nemesis is being operated by a security company working for EDF which safeguards the company’s plant, structures and personnel .
It’s not known what – if any – equipment Nemesis carries to “discourage” any waterborne protesters (there were none in evidence last night) . Last night Nemesis ran into engine trouble and had to divert to Penarth Marina – leaving Sloeber on her own to dump on Penarth’s doorstep.
On Monday next week legal steps are due to be being taken to obtain an injunction to halt the mud dumping – but until that time the mud consignments will continue to be deposited off Penarth.