About once a week a truck containing radioactive waste travels from Koeberg to Vaalputs.
The high level waste a a very real source of concern. Koeberg produces about 30 tons of high level waste per year, and all of it is currently stored at Koeberg – over 1000 tons. If not stored properly, The waste can melt, and also ‘go critical’, which would result in a nuclear explosion.
According to Eskom, the spent fuel pools were designed to hold 5 years worth of spent fuel [http://recruitment.eskom.co.za/content/App AO – Radioactive Waste Management pg 1-79~1.pdf ] (According to the NNR, it was 4 years. [http://www.nnr.co.za/Portals/17/RSA CNS Report 2005.pdf] ) Now Eskom plans to hold 40 years of spent fuel using “super high-density storage racking” . This is because we have not yet found a safe way of disposing of this waste. For the next nuclear plant, the Environmental Impact Assessment was allowed to exclude high level waste disposal – the problem is just ignored, or rather, just deferred for future generations to deal with.
This is despite the instruction from the Department of the Environment [Ref: 12/12/20/944] that “waste disposal … must be described in detail” and that “The long term storage of high level nuclear waste must be addressed”. The EIA consultants have ignored this instruction. When questioned in public (I have this on video) the consultants begrudgingly answered that they considered “long term” to mean about 60 years… and the waste is dangerous for thousands of years!