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South Africa’s Nasty Nuclear Deal — 11 Comments

  1. Absolutely disgusting, we can’t let it happen!
    For anyone who thinks that this is a good deal, consider this – by the time our fleet of nuclear plants is up and running, (around 2030 – probably later if we see how inefficiently Medupi and Kusile have been built) The ITER fusion reactor will be operational in France, producing far more power, safely, at less cost without the toxic waste issue. We will be committed to already obsolete technology, and pay for it for 50 years or more – if nothing goes wrong.
    Fusion is not the only possibility for cheaper cleaner energy, -thorium reactors could be available soon – thorium is so abundant, it can be excavated without mining, very cheap, 01% of the waste, and no chance of meltdown. even in the field of fission technology, generation IV and V promise to be safer and more efficient.
    There have been huge advancements in renewable technology, and storage, and it is impossible to imagine that in 15 years time we will have a problem with providing base load – what are the coal plants for?

    I cannot understand how we see the sense in adopting German building regulations for energy efficiency, but ignore their stance on nuclear energy.\

    I could go on, but in closing, just consider that another nuclear plant meltdown is a statistical certainty (or close as dammit), with the 440 operational in the world at the moment. If Koeberg were to Fukushima on us – Cape Town would have to be evacuated, and avoided for decades or more.- How to justify the cost of such a disaster?

    • Your passionate and well argued comment means that i don’t have to say much. I hope a lot of people read what you said, Keith. I agree with you. And not only because of the logic but if we can’t trust our government now how could we ever trust them for a generation in advance. This idea isn’t about our countries welfare so it can only be about some people making a profit. I expect, welcome delays with this project. Sure some will fight, even if it’s because they haven’t been given a slice of this pie.

      • Even COSATU and NUM have voiced their opposition, because they can see that there will be minimal jobs, mostly foreign engineers, and even in construction, just about all jobs are highly specialised, and we will see a high percentage of foreigners. Despite promises of localisation, the vast majority of the money will leave the country.
        It is not financially viable, which is why there are no private investors. That is why Jacob Zuma has decided to use our money. The same money committed to renewables could start providing power to the grid in less than a year.

  2. Great response Keith, I wish I could be so well reasoned when arguing against nuclear power

    • Thanks Mary. This was mostly the argument meant for those well educated and informed engineer types that support our nuclear program. I have found that arguments around safety do little to convince them as the believe we can ensure that nothing goes wrong, but the illogic of investing in a fleet while technology is surging ahead, usually has them conceding that perhaps we could commit to 1 or 2 now, rather than 6, so that we could at least go for newer technology when it is available.
      Of course, we should not be building any.
      It is a bit like buying 6 Toyota Prius’s now, so for 50 years you wont have to think about buying a new car. – never mind that the Tesla Roadster is better, just not yet available in SA, or that Quant has made a prototype car that runs on salt water, and in a few years the idea of a petrol / electric hybrid will be ridiculous (if not already)

  3. A Chernobyl for South Africa in the making? If one can’t find a decent electrician here, the mind boggles about the sort of maintenance that might be done in due course on a nuclear facility built by the Russians. And if the nation can’t overcome the problem of ‘Mandela’s flowers’ (idly scattered plastic, here, there and everywhere) how are we going to dispose of nuclear waste? But as you say, the upstream issue to focus people’s attention, is how the decision was reached to offer this multi-billion rand contract to Putin’s People. Unfortunately though (in response to Keith) it will probably be unstoppable. Zuma and/or his successors will milk it for all it’s worth, and the rest of us will pay through the nose for the power that is eventually produced.

    • Michael, I find your negativity a bit concerning, and referring to litter as ‘Mandela’s flowers’ is somewhat offensive. It is not unstoppable. There is still a long process ahead, and we cannot give up. This deal with Putin is illegal, and great political leverage. I wonder what Juju thinks about this?

      • I may have been a big fan of Mandela but he was no saint. He never stood up against many bad things and the media were too busy making him an icon to hold him accountable. He allowed some seeds to grow into awful plants.

        • That may be so, and this nuclear problem may be one of those, but to pin the litter problem on him … I dont think so.

  4. Yesterday a meteorite hit Nicaragua. About 1200Km from the nearest nuclear power plant, however the russian meteorite 2 years ago landed about 150 Km from a nuclear power plant – OK a long shot, but one will hit one day, and it will be a horrible disaster – they will say that it’s an act of god, could not have predicted it, tragic but hey whatever.
    we will have these along the Southern Cape coast. A meteorite strike in the Antarctic ocean will cause a tsunami …… in fact, if a big chunk of the Antarctic ice sheet slips off the continent, it will cause a tsunami of note….
    Cant say we haven’t been warned.