The Case for Non-nuclear Power Options

by Keith Gottschalk

Intelligent people often hold a range of views on complex issues, especially where more than one criterion is involved, and where some criteria may not be easily quantified.

Newspaper editorials have criticized the Government’s abuse of secrecy – what democracy classifies its future electricity plans as secret? – as it proceeds with its programme to build six to nine extra atomic power reactors totalling 9600 MW of electricity. The reason for secrecy is defensive: these plans cannot stand up to scrutiny for economic rationality.
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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

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?

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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