Government Officials Continue to Divert Funds to the Nuclear Industry

It has long been suspected that the only motivation behind pushing for nuclear power in South Africa has been corruption via State Capture, coming from then President Jacob Zuma.  Details of this are emerging at the Zondo commission into State Capture where it has been testified that a Minister of Finance was fired specifically because he would not ignore the realities of the cost of nuclear power, and so refused to sign off on the nuclear deal.

Despite this, and despite Zuma being removed from office, there are disturbing signs that there are still those in positions of power who are pushing for taxpayers’ money to be given to the nuclear industry. Continue reading

Advertisements

Response from Eskom to our appeal against the Environmental Authorisation for Koeberg Nuclear site

Title page of response from Eskom to the KAA appealBack in 2007, Eskom began an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for building a large new nuclear power plant on the Koeberg site, about 28km north of Cape Town.  Ten years later, after many drafts and submissions, the Department of Environmental Affairs issued an Environmental Authorisation for the project to go ahead.  Many organisations appealed this decision, and Eskom was required to respond in detail to the content of each of those appeals, which they have now done (in August 2018).

Many of these responses were combined into one document, which has been widely distributed.  However, KAA received the following 115 page specific response.  There has not been time to go through it in detail yet, but it is published below to give you all the opportunity to have a look through it and pass it on to others.

Paging through it, a few bits stood out for me.

A tourism plus…
In a show of optimism regarding possible impacts of tourism, Eskom writes “Some nuclear power stations have a positive effect on tourism, as tourists visit specifically to see the stations.”  Continue reading

Appeal against Environmental Authorisation for Koeberg

After a long Environmental Impact Assessment which began in 2007, an Environmental Authorisation was issued for the Koeberg site, 26km north of Cape Town.  This gave Eskom permission to build a new nuclear plant of unspecified design, plus a nuclear waste reprocessing and/or disposal site.

At first only 30 days were allowed for appeals against this decision, and this was extended on the day of the deadline to about 90 days, until 5th March 2017. There are so many reasons this Authorisation was wrong, and we tried to describe some of them in the 43 page submission we wrote. Continue reading

Koeberg authorised to be Cape Town’s permanent radioactive waste dump

On 11 October 2017 the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) issued an authorisation to Eskom for a second nuclear power plant at Koeberg, 28km north of Cape Town City centre.  It came with a surprise.  The Department also authorised the “construction of facilities or infrastructure, including associated structures or infrastructure for … disposal of nuclear fuels, radioactive products and waste.

Waste disposal not part of project…
You would have been surprised if you had studied the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) because it gave the impression this was not about waste disposal. Continue reading

Government neglects nuclear waste

The Koeberg nuclear plant near Cape Town requires about thirty tons of uranium fuel per year.  Unlike a fuel such as coal, this uranium is not burnt up.  It undergoes a nuclear reaction, which transforms it into other elements, some of which are highly radioactive. Burning or any other chemical process does not reduce the radioactivity.

That means that over thirty tons of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) are removed from the reactors each year.  So far over a million kilograms of this SNF (over 2000 fuel elements)  have accumulated since Koeberg began operating in 1984.

Continue reading

Thorium and fairy dust: the future of nuclear?

Nuclear power is currently predominately based on uranium fuel.  This is an issue for two reasons. Uranium reserves are limited, and should nuclear power become widely used, economically extractable reserves would run out within decades.  Secondly, the current 400 odd reactors in the world are producing high level waste at a rate far exceeding the rate at which long term solutions for handling this waste are being planned.  The industry has acknowledged these problems, and the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) sometimes refers to uranium based nuclear power as a ‘bridging technology’.

One alternative put forward is thorium.  There are about four times more known thorium than uranium reserves and a thorium reaction works differently, so the fuel lasts longer. Continue reading

Proposed nuclear build outside Cape Town – public participation meetings

The government is asking the South African public for their input on the proposed nuclear build 30km outside Cape Town in a series of public meetings. These meetings are always attended by the few pro-nuclear stakeholders and it is important that the public also attend to share their concerns about safety, costs and environmental issues.

When?

Melkbosstrand: 18:00, 12 October 2015
Atlantic Beach Golf club

Kenliworth: 18:00, 13 October 2015
Kenilworth Community Presbyterian Church

Is it really worthwhile attending?

Yes! South Africa has an excellent constitution and powerful laws Continue reading