On the ground in Fukushima

I am sitting in a hotel in Tokyo, after attending the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World this past weekend.  The sessions were video recorded, and was streamed in real time.  Over 100 000 people watched the streaming.  See http://npfree.jp/english/

Before the conference we were taken on a two day tour of Fukushima city and some areas nearby, and listened to local people talk about the experience, Continue reading

Statistically, how safe is nuclear power?

Child in Fukushima being tested for radiation‘Safe’ is an interesting word, in that it means different things to different people.  To the public, ‘safe’ often means ‘cannot fail’, whereas to an engineer, it only means that something is within the accepted safety standards.  Continue reading

Evacuations and after effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

It is not unusual for those who favour nuclear power to downplay the effects of nuclear disasters that have happened.  In the article “Nuclear power is a key part of SA’s future”, attributed to the South African Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters, I came across this example: ‘The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission to Fukushima at the end of May 2011 concluded that “to date no confirmed long-term health effects to any person have been reported as a result of radiation exposure from the nuclear accident”‘. Continue reading

Top COP or Flop COP?

And finally, its over.  Negotiations carried on until 3.30am this morning, and ended with the ‘Durban Deal’.  It has three main features.

The Three Part Deal – KP, GCF, and … something

Firstly, the Kyoto Protocol (KP) will be extended in its current form for five years.  Civil society is divided on whether this is a flop or ‘top’.  Continue reading

South Africa could learn from Germany abandoning nuclear power in favour of renewables

Germany has been in the news recently for announcing that it has scrapped all plans for using nuclear power in the future. The magnitude of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima and the radioactive contamination there resulted in German voters making it very clear that any party supporting nuclear expansion would be in trouble in the polls. For the first time in history, the German Green Party won a regional election.

Goeddenhenrich and Becker discussing PV

Goeddenhenrich and Becker discuss solar PV at the Hout Bay Green Faire

But what about the 26 new coal power stations that Germany is planning to build as a result of abandoning nuclear power? Continue reading