The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) has announced public hearings relating to an Eskom application to licence the Thyspunt site in the Eastern Cape for a new nuclear plant build. The hearings will take place on 25 and 26 August 2021 in St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay respectively.
Brief EIA history
Thyspunt lies 80k west of Gqeberha (formally known as Port Elizabeth), in between St. Francis Bay and Oyster Bay. The site was one of three proposed by Eskom for a new nuclear installation in 2008, the others being Duynefontein (next to Koeberg outside Cape Town) and Bantamsklip (near Hermanus in the southern Cape). The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) found that the Thyspunt site was the least risky however in a surprise move the minister for the environment approved the project in 2017, but named Duynefontein for the build. This decision was appealed, and four years later, no decision on that appeal has been made.
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. Continue reading →
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 →
When the Department of Energy called for bids to supply renewable energy to the South African grid, they produced a bid document which described the conditions and information required from bidders. This was only available to prospective bidders who paid a fee of R15 000, and signed a confidentiality agreement which included the stipulation to “not divulge or distribute any information in respect of this RFP or pass on any copies of this RFP”.
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.
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 →
“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.
This riveting talk by Peter Becker of the Koeberg Alert Alliance explores the issues of Nuclear based power generation and debunks the myths around renewable energy use.
If you have ever wanted to understand the bigger picture of energy generation and separate the facts from the spin of the pro nuclear industry then Nuclear 101 is the place to start.
Part 1 – covers issues of the fuel for Nuclear Power, the radioactive waste generated by nuclear power stations and related human and environmental risks.
Part 2 – covers problems at Cape Town’s Koeberg Nuclear plant e.g. leakages and security as well as Koeberg’s emergency response plan.
Part 3 – looks at global energy trends, renewable energy, energy and job creation, base load energy provision, debunks various renewable energy myths and looks at ways we can address global warming.