EXTENSIVE monitoring of radiation levels on beaches near Hinkley Point nuclear power station has shown radiation levels are "within acceptable limits", the Environment Agency revealed this week.

Monitoring was stepped up last year after a member of the public took his own radiation readings at Kilve beach when his pet dog died after being exercised in the area.

Officers from the EA visited the beach with the man last September to take readings, but no trace of the levels he claimed could be found either by him or EA experts.

However, as a precautionary measure, the EA has carried out a programme of monitoring from October until March, and this week revealed that both radioactivity and gamma rays were within the normal range.

Hinkley Point is authorised by the EA to discharge small amounts of radioactivity into the Bristol Channel in liquid effluents. These discharges are closely monitored.

Testing since these allegations came to light has taken in beaches at Weston, Burnham, Steart and Watchet, as well as Hinkley Point itself and the River Parrett.

No activity above background radiation levels was detected.

Routine checks by the station's operator, The British Nuclear Group, showed slightly elevated levels of Strontium-90 in two sediment samples, but the level was still within safe limits.

The EA says it posed no threat to environmental or human health.

Spokesman Anil Koshti said: "The Strontium-90 was present at extremely low levels and within normal limits.

"However, as a precaution we have advised Hinkley A site operators to cease certain pond operations until we are satisfied that sufficient measures are in place to ensure levels of radioactivity are kept to a minimum."