The South African Government has decided to open the debate on how South Africa should meet its future energy needs, with nuclear being firmly in the spotlight.

Thyspunt will be four times the size of Koeberg

Trevor Manuel’s National Planning Commission (NPC) has been tasked to answer the question whether South Africa will be a better or worse place to live in 2025.

The NPC has rightly identified that nuclear energy can create more problems than it solves.

According to the NPC:

“The IRP 2010 envisages that further nuclear energy plants will need to be built from about 2023/24. Nuclear energy is one of the options for providing large-scale base load power in the next 15 years.

Yet the financial cost, environmental safety, waste disposal and decommissioning costs have to be taken into account.

South Africa needs a national debate on the future development and use of nuclear energy. Long lead-times are necessary for the development of nuclear power plants.

No more than 18 months are left for conducting this national debate and agreeing on a new nuclear energy policy.”

Thyspunt is an important heritage site in South Africa with many shell middens and khoisan tools

What the NPC also needs to take into account is the safety of citizens who would have to live near nuclear power plants. Reports coming from Japan show that the waste water sludge and sewage in that country is highly radioactive and cannot be used for fertilizer nor for cement production.

The contaminated sewage has been directly linked to the Fukushima disaster.

It is crucial that the debate on nuclear energy be debated in South Africa. Currently we have Eskom trying to convince the country about just how safe nuclear energy is while countries like Germany and Italy are moving away from nuclear due to the danger it poses.

Have your say and enter the debate by emailing comments@npconline.co.za

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