Activists from Greenpeace Africa have placed look-a-like radioactive barrels on a Three Anchor Bay beach in Sea Point, Cape Town to highlight the risks and true costs associated with nuclear power.

Through the simulated radioactive pollution, Greenpeace aims to encourage South Africans to ask the key questions that the government has so far failed to answer.

The South African government is barrelling ahead with its nuclear plans without consultation of public stakeholders or transparency to its plans.

In the recent budget speech by Minister Gordhan, there was no mention of the R 300 billion allocated to the nuclear energy plans in the country.

The amount, however, has been said to be as much as R 1 trillion. It is the largest tender in South Africa’s history.

“The uncertainty and inconsistency in the estimated nuclear costs are indicative of the secrecy within the nuclear sector and are the tip of the iceberg of the real and true costs of nuclear energy,” says Ferrial Adam, Greenpeace Africa Nuclear campaigner.

“The government’s rushed decision to build six additional nuclear reactors is a clear indication that the South African government is not learning from the systemic failures around the world’s nuclear industry, as became apparent recently in Fukushima, Japan” adds Adam.

Historical evidence – Fukushima Daiichi, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island – shows a major nuclear accident has occurred somewhere in the world about once every decade.

Globally, nuclear energy is declining. In the last five years, 22 times more renewable energy capacity has been built than nuclear energy. Today, nuclear energy is only responsible for about 6 % of the global energy supply.

Greenpeace Africa is calling on the South African government to be open and transparent about the nuclear build process and to engage with citizens on the country’s nuclear future.

“Nuclear energy is a dirty energy source that offers too little, too late, at too high a price. The South African government can still make the wise decision to stop nuclear and invest in renewable energy now. It is not too late,” concluded Adam.

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