It has been a long and difficult road for those promoting nuclear power as a solution to South Africa’s electricity needs. Recently, so much has gone wrong for the nuclear lobby it is hard to imagine how it could be worse: Continue reading
At a conference in Stockholm in November one of the speakers was Shigeo Nomura, Executive Director of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.
Nomura made some contradictory statements about the Fukushima disaster, as well as some outlandish claims about the costs of nuclear power relative to renewable energy.
It was the tsunami?
I am sitting in a conference in Stockholm about nuclear waste. There are speakers from organisations from all over the world including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, delegates from many non-governmental organisation, engineers, and academics studying subjects such as nuclear physics, ethics, and geology.
Gene Rowe of the US Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board gave a highly technical presentation about the prospects of dealing with nuclear spent fuel in the USA via a combination of reprocessing and disposal. I got chatting to him afterwards, and asked him about a claim I have heard repeated many times in South Africa.
I am in Upsala, Sweden, as a guest of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC). It has nearly 200 000 paying members, a full-time staff of about 90, and produces a magazine every two months for its members. It has been an interesting first day in Stockholm, with a lot to take in.
Sweden generates about half of its electricity from nuclear power, and, like all countries with nuclear power, the country is wrestling with the issue of what to do with the spent nuclear fuel, or in technical terms, the high level waste. This remains dangerously radioactive for thousands of years, and disposing of it safely is a huge engineering challenge. Continue reading
In June representatives of Eartlife Africa Jhb and Greenpeace visited Cape Town and the Hermanus area. Several meetings with other organisations were arranged, including one in Woodstock with Right To Know activists. Plans for a national ‘nuclear school’ where discussed, but funding would be required. This would be unlikely to happen before October and since the next draft of the Nuclear-1 Environmental Impact Report was due to be released around October, it was agreed that workshops should be arranged before that if possible. To maximise impact, the workshops would be in ‘train the trainers’ format, to capacitate activist leaders to speak authoritatively on the nuclear issue. Continue reading
An independent in depth report on the Fukushima nuclear disaster commissioned by the Japanese parliament was released in July 2012, and it comes to some very important conclusions. As Eskom attempts to get approval to build three more nuclear plants along the southern coast, South Africa should be looking very closely at this report to see if there are lessons we should learn from it.
The earthquake or the tsunami?
The nuclear industry has repeatedly made the claim Continue reading
When the Department of Energy called for bids to supply renewable energy to the South African grid, they produced a bid document which described the conditions and information required from bidders. This was only available to prospective bidders who paid a fee of R15 000, and signed a confidentiality agreement which included the stipulation to “not divulge or distribute any information in respect of this RFP or pass on any copies of this RFP”.