Hinkley C and the fish deterrent
The Environment Agency is once again looking at the use of an acoustic fish deterrent at Hinkley C nuclear power station. Or more to the point, at the absence of one. In the initial plans for Hinkley C, the company proposed using acoustic fish deterrents (AFD). The deterrent would use underwater sound to cause some species of fish to swim away from the water intakes. By placing these devices near to the water intake for the power station, it would minimise the amount of fish getting sucked into the plant.
In February 2019, they applied to the EA to have the fish deterrents removed from the plans. They claimed the power plant would in any case have a minimal impact on fish populations. Following a consultation the EA disagreed. It claimed that removing the AFD would have a detrimental impact on fish populations in the Bristol Channel.
The company appealed to the Secretary of State. In September 2022 the Secretary of State dismissed NNB Generation Company (HPC) Limited’s appeal.
However since then approval has been given to Sizewell C which does not incorporate an AFD in its plans. Instead it had a waste stream for the discharge of water and dead or moribund fish from the Fish Recovery and Return system.
So once again plans are being submitted by EdF for Hinkley C that remove any requirement for an AFD. The EA will once again assess the impact of removing the requirement for an AFD. Specifically looking at the potential for water pollution and/or effects on habitat and species. Especially those directly affected by the discharge from the fish recovery and return outfall.
Once again the EA will launch a public consultation. This is planned to take place during January, though as yet no start date has been fixed.