The catastrophe of the nuclear meltdown in Japan has brought home the stark reality of what can go wrong with a nuclear power plant.
Jeffreys Bay sits exactly on the 20 km evacuation zone should an accident occur at a potential nuclear power plant at Thyspunt.
A strong westerly wind would bring plumes of radiation over the town that would not leave enough time to make an orderly evacuation possible.
The scariest scenario of a nuclear accident, from whatever cause, would be that Jeffreys Bay would become uninhabitable for centuries to come.
Residents would literally have to evacuate the town with what they could fit into the cars and that will be that. They will never return to their homes. Is this science fiction or reality?
Well ask the residents of the Ukrainian town of Pripyat who were evacuated in 1986 when the Chernobyl Nuclear reactor exploded. This is the warning they received:
“For the attention of the residents of Pripyat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating.
To keep people as safe and healthy as possible, the children being top priority, we need to temporarily evacuate the citizens. Starting from April 27, 1986 2 p.m. each apartment block will have a bus at its disposal, supervised by the police and the city officials.
It is highly advisable to take your documents, some vital personal belongings and a certain amount of food, just in case, with you.
All the houses will be guarded by the police during the evacuation period. Please make sure you have turned the lights, electrical equipment and water off and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short term evacuation.”
History has proven that the residents of this 49 000 strong town were never able to return to their homes after “this short term evacuation”.
“The explosive force of nuclear fission has changed everything except our modes of thinking and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe. We shall require an entirely new pattern of thinking if humankind is to survive.” – Albert Einstein, 1946
The disaster in Japan as well as Chernobyl has proven without doubt that nuclear energy is dangerous and uncontrollable when things go wrong.
The pools of spent fuel that are stored on site at a nuclear power plant are an unacceptable risk to the residents of the wider Jeffreys Bay region. The nuclear industry cannot guarantee our safety, no matter what Eskom would like us to believe.
And there are alternatives to nuclear energy. Lewis Pugh the human polar bear, has swum at the North Pole in -1.7 degree water as well as in a lake at Mount Everest to prove his message that the impossible is possible. We can build an economy based on renewable energy……it is possible!
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein