For the moment, the last 2,000 ton consignment of mud has been dumped off Penarth –  but the dreaded mud boats will returning to dump yet more mud here soon  (Image WalesonLine/LazerTV)

The French energy company EDF has “paused” the programme of mud-dumping off  Penarth  – but will be returning to dump yet more  ‘nuclear mud’ off Penarth in the near future.

The temporary pause comes less than half-way through the ‘nuclear mud’ dumping schedule.

The mud-dump vessel Pagadder splits herself open to discharge another 2,000 tons of ‘nuclear mud’ into the sea off in the Cardiff Grounds off Penarth . On some days the mud ships managed three round trips from Hinkley Point to Penarth within 24 hours

The Welsh Labour Government gave the French state electricity company EDF [Électricité de France S.A] a licence to dump –  off Penarth –  a total of 320,000 tons of mud dredged from the sea bed off the Hinkley Point nuclear power complex in Somerset.

  • So far EDF has dumped 110,000 tons of mud at the Cardiff Grounds off Penarth. [Cardiff Grounds is a triangular area of the sea bed off Penarth where normally only dredging spoil from the approach channels to Cardiff and Newport Docks is deposited]
  • That leaves 210,000 tons of mud which could still be dumped off Penarth  within the six months window provided by the original licence.
  • However EDF says the  next consignments of mud to be dumped in the Cardiff Grounds “Triangle” will be from much deeper down in the sea bed adjacent to the two ageing Hinkley Point A and B nuclear plants where vertical shafts are to be sunk for the cooling water system for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
  •  EDF seems to suggest it will need to apply for an additional dumping licence from the Welsh Labour Government for this phase of the operation
  • Campaigners say that neither the 110,000 tons of mud already dumped  off Penarth –  nor the new “deeper” mud – still to be dumped –  has been subjected to the full range of sampling and tests for  the presence of possible radioactive substances.

Opponents of the dumping say a greater range of testing should have been carried out before operations  began to ensure there was no radioactive risk – the key issue which prompted heated exchanges in a Welsh Assembly debate on October 10th . [ See http://tinyurl.com/yb2wkvk7 ]

Barry Island’s famous beach is no longer the golden sand it was in the summer – when this picture was taken. Vale of Glamorgan Councillor Kevin Mahoney says he’s noticed thousands of spats of mud being washed ashore at Barry’s famous Blue Flag beach. Cllr Mahoney says “I’ve never noticed such a concentration of mud on the golden sands there before”

However – whether radioactive or not – it appears that concentrations of mud are now being carried by the powerful Bristol Channel tides and are being washed ashore in unexpected places – like the “Blue Flag” beach on  Barry Island.

This week a PDN commentator in Barry called “Fed Up” reported :-  “ I walked on Barry Island beach today more mud than ever. Also all the work done to make the sea clear it was thick brown. This wasn’t like it in the Spring. “

Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully) stopped the wakeboarding scheme being considered by just one “delegated” Vale Council planning officer – has had been originally intended by the defeated Labour administration

Her observation is supported by Vale of Glamorgan Councillor Kevin Mahoney who said “Walking Barry Island Beach yesterday [ October 9] it was covered in thousands of mud splats deposited by the tide. Whether there is a natural explanation for this I’ve no idea, but as I walk the beach virtually every day I’ve never noticed such a concentration of mud on the golden sands there before and naturally wonder if this is linked to the dumping of the Hinckly point mud. Putting to one side any radiation fears if there is a link to the mud deposits then what on earth are we / the incompetents in the Assembly, allowing to happen to our areas enjoyed by residents and tourists alike?”.

EDF however, is quoted as saying  “This mud is no different to mud found anywhere else up and down the coast. It has been thoroughly tested by a UK Government agency whose experts confirmed it poses no threat to human health or the environment. The sediment is not classed as radioactive under UK law.” EDF also  claims to be “providing work for 25 Welsh companies and 1,000 Welsh workers”.

The hated Belgian mud dumping ships Sloeber and Pagadder were today supposed to be heading back to Belgium – but Pagadder is still at anchor off Hinkley Point and Sloeber remains in Barry Docks . In their wake, the two ships have left Penarth and possibly also local beaches like Barry to face the consequences of the thousands of tons of mud they have dumped (Image WalesonLine/Lazer TV)

Meanwhile, with the protests ignored and the current phase of the operation completed, the two most hated ships in Wales – the Belgian motor hopper “Sloeber” were supposed to be returning to Belgium this morning – but in fact Sloeber is still in Barry Docks and her identical sister vessel “Pagadder”  remains at anchor off Hinkley Point

The two ships leave behind them a stretch of Welsh waters which – thanks to them – are now muddier than ever –  and a political time-bomb which may still put paid to a Welsh Labour Government that,  arguably, has chosen to ignore the people of Wales just one time too many.

UPDATE SUNDAY OCTOBER 14TH : Both Sloeber and Pagadder have now left South Wales and are heading for Antwerp.

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  1. Colin. says:

    Unfortunately the “spats” of MUD were apparent during the past winter on Whitmore Bay. No one I met on the beach could explain them then either.

  2. Jp says:

    I think we should play spot the splats, and give them names – Gethings and Lesleys spring to mind, in honour of the politicians who did so much to bring them to us.

  3. Scootergirl says:

    It is extremely difficult to understand why this mud ( even if it is completely safe) was brought upstream rather than taken logically downstream where it simply would not have caused so much ‘bother’ in deeper waters!!

    • Jp says:

      It was cheaper for Electricite de France to dump it by us – this has all been about saving money for them. And now no doubt our craven Assembly will end up paying to clean up the beaches – which would serve it right for not doing impact assessments properly but as usual itlll be us who pay, not the arrrogant clowns responsible.

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