The announcement that South Africa has signed a nuclear deal with Russia to facilitate the building of reactors to generate 9 600 MW of energy has caused great unease amongst South Africans.
Despite the fact that the Impact Studies for Thyspunt – the preferred site to build the first reactor – are still incomplete, it seems that Government is steaming ahead with nuclear energy without due process being followed.
There has been no tender process involved with the nuclear deal and it appears that all the visits by President Jacob Zuma to Russia have certainly included negotiations about Russia’s involvement with a nuclear programme in South Africa.
“If the deal with ROSTATOM, the Russian Nuclear company actually materialises, it will mean that ROSTATOM will build, own and operate the plant.
They will sell the electricity they generate to ESKOM. ROSTATOM is a business, and they are definitely not going to be interested in fixing our social ills,” said Trudi Malan from the Thyspunt Alliance.
There is a belief amongst some Kouga residents that should Thyspunt go ahead, the boost to the local economy will be massive and that all of Kouga’s infrastructural problems will be solved.
“It is clear that a development of this magnitude will bring more people to the area, and not all of them will be employed but they will need housing and basic services.
At present we cannot even supply these services to people who have been living here for years. Due to a lack of planning in the past and a tendency to follow a path of unsustainable development our area has to deal with a magnitude of problems and these problems ultimately affect our pockets.
Storm water management or the lack thereof is but one example as our roads would have been in a far better condition if we had proper storm water drainage in place. Ongoing sewerage spills due to over-stressed plants are another example,” added Malan.