Press Release: Reckless Government Decision on 9600MW of Nuclear Power

Earthlife Africa Jhb
17 March 2011

Earthlife Africa Jhb is stunned and appalled that the South African Government decided today to go ahead with 9600MW expansion of nuclear power. Given the escalating and increasingly catastrophic tragedy at the Fukushima 1 reactor complex, one could not be blamed for thinking that the South African Government would have taken a moment or two to re-evaluate its commitment to nuclear power. It is as if, in the Department of Energy, that everything is okay in Japan.

While Earthlife Africa Jhb is well-known for its anti-nuclear position, this decision is unwise even if one is pro-nuclear. Most unfortunately, the Japanese situation will hold vital lessons for the nuclear industry in plant design, accident management, and waste storage. For an informed decision to be made, these lessons would have to be learnt, data interrogated, and current capabilities re-examined; as is currently happening in China, Switzerland and Germany.

How would South Africa cope with a nuclear accident? Should our evacuation plans change? What about spent rods stored at Koeberg? What could new generation plants (such as the EPR) include in new safety designs? It is almost inconceivable that Japan has no lessons for the rest of the world. It is for this reason that to rush into a massive nuclear expansion is reckless, even if one agrees with nuclear power.

For more information, please contact:

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

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