Press Release: Anti-Nuclear Protest at the Department of Energy

Earthlife Africa Jhb
24th March 2011

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Youth and Climate Change Forum will be holding a protest at the Department of Energy in Pretoria to demonstrate against the burdening of South Africa’s youth with the consequences of nuclear power. As the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima I complex in Japan shows, radiation has a disproportional affect on the young.

With the drinking water in several Japanese cities, including Tokyo, now unsafe for infants to drink, we are extremely concerned that South Africa’s elders have made a decision to massively expand the country’s nuclear programme (9600MW of new nuclear power) without considering the long-term consequences. Bluntly put, long after the current crop of leaders and government officials are dead and buried, South Africa’s youth will be stuck with the waste and decommissioning costs. The youth will pay for today’s decisions, and hence the decision to go to the Department of Energy to protest against this unwise decision.

Place:        Department of Energy, Pretoria, Travena Office Park, 75 Meinjies Street, Sunnyside
Time:          10:00 to 13:00
Date:           Friday, 25 March 2011

Not only are workers being hospitalised in Japan, reactors have had at least partial meltdowns, crops and milk have been polluted with iodine-131 and caesium-137, and independent analysis of the tragedy by the Austrian Government stated that Fukushima has released up to 50% of the radiation that Chernobyl did, the long-term consequences from this accident will be borne by Japan’s youth. They will be left will a decades long clean-up operation and will end up paying the current loans (US$25 billion, and set to rise) of the Japanese utility (TEPCO).

Something similar is happening in South Africa. The nuclear expansion will be debt-financed and decommissioning costs are far beyond a politician’s term in office. As Lerato Maregele, Youth Coordinator at Earthlife Africa Jhb states, “The IRP2010 and the decision to go nuclear will be our mess to sort out. Not only will we pay off the loans and have to deal with the decommissioning, we will have to live with the ever-present danger of a nuclear accident for the rest of our lives. And, by keeping with coal, gas, and expensive nuclear, the South African government will be leaving us with climate change and a big nuclear bill. Thanks a whole lot.”

For more information, please contact:

Lerato Maregele
Youth Coordinator
Earthlife Africa Jhb
Cell: +27 72 157 2155
Tel: +27 11 339 3663

Makoma Lekalakala
Programme Officer
Earthlife Africa Jhb
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Fax: +27 11 339 3270
Fax to email: 086 545 5866
Cell: +27 82 682 9177

Tristen Taylor
Project Co-ordinator
Earthlife Africa Jhb
Tel: +27 11 339-3662
Cell: +27 84 250-2434

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