Despite the fact that the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are yet to be concluded, it seems that the South African Government is steaming ahead with plans to build a nuclear power station at Thyspunt.
In his state of the nation address last week, President Zuma made mention that Government expected “to conclude the procurement of 9 600MW of nuclear energy”.
With Thyspunt being identified as the preferred site for the construction of a nuclear power station, it appears that government is not at all concerned with the very serious flaws already identified in the EIA’s.
According to a report on Algoa FM, the Department of Energy plans to appoint a service provider on “the economic impact of localisation for the nuclear programme”.
And, it states in the terms of reference that construction of Nuclear 1, expected to be at Thyspunt near Oyster Bay, will start in 2017.
Yet, the local community are still awaiting the release of the revised EIA’s which now seem to be of little concern for the Department of Energy.
Are we facing a scenario of the National Interest being of more importance than local environmental concerns?
The Nation Interest can certainly include the security of South Africa’s energy supply but there are many unanswered questions about the suitability of Thyspunt as the preferred site for a nuclear power station.
The concerns about debris flow have still not been resolved and the demise of the squid industry in the Kouga will affect up to 4 000 jobs, according to expert opinion that flies in the face of the “expert” appointed by Eskom, who glibly said that there will be very little impact on the squid industry in our region.
South Africa needs a mix of energy that will not make us reliant on any one source. Whether nuclear should be in the mix is something that should be discussed, following the ongoing crises at Fukushima.
That there are plans to ram Thyspunt through as the preferred site for a nuclear power station without the necessary regulations being adhered to, is simply unacceptable and whether a person is pro or anti nuke, there is already too much murkiness swirling around the possible nuke at Thyspunt.
All the residents of Kouga should be highly concerned.