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Press Release: The Nuclear Showdown: Experts debate on the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power for South Africa

Earthlife Africa Jhb

Johannesburg- South Africa is in the grip of an electricity crisis, with loadshedding becoming an almost daily occurrence. The shortage of electricity and poor state of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations has led to leading energy industry experts scrambling for answers. Supporters of nuclear power argue that nuclear power will provide safe and clean electricity; however others argue that nuclear power is too costly, complicated to build on time and will leave a legacy of dangerous radioactive waste.

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg aims to bring these arguments to the forefront of the public discourse as the government forges ahead with it’s most expensive procurement process to date. Earthlife Africa believes that in order for fair and transparent procurement process to take place; the public must be informed about all the issues. We are therefore hosting a public debate between prominent South African nuclear industry expert, Dr Kelvin Kemm; and internationally renown anti-nuclear activist, Vladimir Slivyak.

The debate will take place in the Human Rights Conference Room at Constitutional Hill, located at 11 Kotze Street in Braamfontein, on the 30th of June 2015 from 18:00 pm to 20:00 pm. Dr Kelvin Kemm and Mr. Vladimir Slivyak will debate for one hour on the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power in South Africa, after which the session will be opened up to the floor for questions.

Vladimir Slivyak is famous in South Africa for leaking the secret Intergovernmental Framework Agreement between Russia and South Africa for the procurement of 9600 MW of nuclear power. Slivyak is currently a senior lecturer in environmental policy at a leading Russian university, the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow. He is the author of ‘From Hiroshima to Fukushima (2011’, a book that chronicles the 2011 Japanese nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi and describes the Russian nuclear industry’s own lack of preparedness for similar potential accidents; and to over 300 articles on environmental and energy issues.

From 2004 to 2012, Mr. Slivyak served as a board member to the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), the largest US-based network of safe energy and anti-nuclear activists. Slivyak is also the co-founder of the Russian environmental group Ecodefense (1989). Eco-defense is a leading anti-nuclear group in Russia. In it’s 25- year history, Ecodefense has been successful in numerous environmental campaigns, including stopping the construction of new nuclear reactors and import of nuclear waste into Russia. Ecodefense is currently in danger of being shut down entirely by the Russian authorities. Slivyak continues to consult to various decision making authorities and has been invited to speak on nuclear issues to the Russian, European ad German Parliaments.  

Dr Kemm studied at the University of KwaZulu Natal where he gained degrees in mathematics and nuclear physics. On completing a PhD, he started work as a research and development scientist at the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa. He then moved into the field of the management of technology and became involved in a wide variety of projects in many industrial sectors, giving him wide exposure to the realities of the technological and industrial base of society. He has written over 1000 popular interest articles in journals, magazines and newspapers, internationally.

In 1994 Dr Kemm was appointed to the International Board of Advisors of the Washington DC-based environment and technology lobby group; The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. He is a member of the International Board of GoNuclear Inc based in Colorado, USA. He is also on the American Board of: Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy; EFN: USA based in Paris, France. Dr Kemm has written two books; a public interest book entitled ‘Techtrack – A Winding Path of South African Development’, and also a coffee table book – ‘At the Forefront of Weather’. He writes his own column in Engineering News, which has a major international readership. In 2003 he was awarded the Lifetime Achiever’s Award in Science and Technology, by the National Science and Technology Forum. In 2005 he was a finalist in the Men’s Health magazine Best Man in South Africa Award. In 2007 he was awarded a Circle of Valour award by The Knights of Durban.

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg:

Dominique Doyle
Energy Policy Officer
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Cell: +27 79 331 2028

The Big Nuclear Showdown debate!
June 23, 2015
Press Release: Bizarre nuclear dreams at holiday resort press briefing
July 14, 2015

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