The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) confirmed last week that South Africa will adhere to a 16 Km safety zone around any potential Nuclear Power Plant and has dismissed calls in Eskom’s draft Impact Study that a safety zone of 800 M is applicable.
Mr. Knox Msebenzi, NNR Technical Manager said that safety zones for any nuclear plant in SA is still the same as that of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) which is 16 km.
The NNR agreed with local activists like the Thuyspunt Nuclear Alliance Group that the 800 M zone required by European regulations is misleading and is being aggressively marketed by Avera, the French company hoping to receive the contract to build a nuclear power station in South Africa.
Elza Van Lingen from the Democratic Alliance also raised the concerns of the potential impact a nuclear power station at Thuyspunt would have on the Dairy and Chokka industries in South Africa. Ms Van Lingen pointed out that due to a lack of sufficient information about the radiation possibilities in the draft EIA, it was impossible for these industries to comment on the EIA.
“In America it is standard practice to take milk samples from dairy farms close to nuclear facilities on a monthly basis; this must surely indicate that there is a risk. Humansdorp is the largest milk producing district in SA and our squid industry contributes R500 m to the GDP annually, it would surely be an oversight not to consider the possible risk to these industries,” said Van Lingen
The Democratic Alliance has called for site visits to take place as South Africa cannot be held to decisions that were taken in the previous regime where vast sections of coastline were ruled out of contention due to the homeland policy that was in place during that time.