Government backs away from nuclear power plans

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

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Electricity and nuclear costs workshop in Khayelitsha

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

Official report on Fukushima – what can South Africa learn?

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 tsunami swamping the sea barrier at Fukushima

The nuclear industry has repeatedly made the claim Continue reading

Nuclear ‘renaissance’ stillborn

First published in Business Day, 23 July 2012

The nuclear power industry is deeply troubled, with little cause for optimism. There is growing worldwide public resistance to nuclear power stations, President Obama has terminated government subsidies in the USA for nuclear power, and Germany and Switzerland have committed to shutting down all their reactors. While the renewable energy industry has seen dramatic growth and constantly falling costs, the nuclear industry grapples with spiralling costs, the seemingly intractable waste disposal issue, and the ongoing huge economic and human costs of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A renaissance?

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

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

Voice of the Youth – Our Energy Future

“No Nuclear, No – we want clean energy”. Cape Town’s youth are adding their voices to the call for a clean energy future in South Africa.

In 2010 they came together to protest government’s plans to build more nuclear power stations + encourage South Africans to stand up for their rights to a clean, safe future, free of toxic radioactive waste – a future based on sustainable, renewable (truly Ayoba) energy.