Seismic tests have revealed that the Thyspunt site is not suitable for the building of a nuclear power plant due to the risk of an earthquake as well as rising sea levels.
It would be near impossible to construct a nuclear power station safely at Thyspunt because of deep, hidden canyons in the bedrock covered by sand and soft rock, a geological study has found.
The study conducted by the Nelson Mandela Bay University has revealed evidence of a large paleo (ancient) seismic event along an Eastern Cape fault line 10 000 years ago.
Professor Maarten de Wit, director of the Africa Earth Observatory Network, has written a report in which he warns that the risks at Thyspunt have not been properly examined and that the evidence is overwhelming that the site is unsuitable.
Rising sea levels, surging storms due to climate change, and tectonic-induced tsunamis pose dangers in the presence of the canyons.
De Wit’s report quotes studies that show the sea level has been rising along Nelson Mandela Bay at about 2mm a year over the past 36 years and may rise between 1m and 2m by the end of this century as the power station nears the end of its life.
“From the above, one may conclude that the chance of seawater penetration into buried canyons and valleys beneath the Thyspunt dunes is more likely to increase into the future rather than stagnate or decrease,” the report reads.
Residents in the area have been opposed to the construction of Thyspunt since the 1990’s and are prepared to take Eskom to court to prevent the Nuclear power plant from being built.
Their primary concerns have been the impact a mega project would have on the ailing Kouga municipal infrastructure, the strain that would be placed on schools, clinics and hospitals in the area, as well as rising crime levels.
The Impact Studies have conceded that tourism will be negatively affected, while there is concern that the lucrative chokka fishing industry will also be affected, leading to a loss of jobs.