About Professor Simon Haslett

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Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Professor of Physical Geography and Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear power: relevance of the 1607 flood in the Bristol Channel.

An article I recently wrote on the relevance of the 1607 flood in the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary to nuclear power stations is now available in printed form and as an Amazon Kindle eBook. This research is to be featured in a BBC Southwest 'Inside, Out' programme due to be broadcast on BBC1 South West on 5th December 2011 and BBC1 West on 16th January 2012.

Following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, and the impact on nuclear power facilities, coastal communities around the world are re-evaluating the potential risk from tsunami hazard. Although the coastline of Britain has experienced few large tsunami some have occurred, such as tsunami generated by the prehistoric Storegga submarine slide and the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Also, in southwest Britain, a flood in 1607 inundated lowlands along 540km of the Bristol Channel and the Severn Estuary coast, killing approximately 2000 people and causing much damage. The source of the 1607 flood is disputed, being caused either by a storm surge or tsunami. Evidence for two earthquakes in 1607 is presented here for the first time, suggesting this was a seismically active period. This has relevance for future planning of nuclear power facilities in the Bristol Channel, which is currently the location of the Hinkley, Oldbury, and (now decommissioned) Berkeley nuclear power stations.
Keywords: earthquake, tsunami, nuclear power, Bristol Channel, Severn Estuary, coastal flood, storm surge.