Nuclear energy is back in the spotlight following President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address.
Zuma said South Africa’s energy sector needed a radical transformation.
He added that work needed to be done on all forms of energy especially nuclear energy and shale gas with regards to funding, safety, exploitation and the local manufacture of components.
Zuma said nuclear had the possibility of generating well over 9000 MW of power for South Africa.
This has a direct implication for Jeffreys Bay, as Thyspunt is the government’s preferred site to build the first nuclear reactor, despite strong resistance from local residents and flawed Impact Studies.
Executive director of the Free Market Foundation, Leon Louw believes nuclear power would be a ‘catastrophe’, according to a report published on Moneyweb.
“The government has shown conclusively that it is unable to manage electricity. It is entirely in the wrong hands. Nuclear will make the disasters of Medupi and Kusile seem small,” he told Moneyweb.
The announcement that the controversial Tina Joemat-Pettersson has been appointed as Minister of Energy will give Jeffreys Bay residents even more reason to be worried about a potential nuclear power plant on our doorstep.
In her report in December, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Zuma should act against Joemat-Pettersson because of her “reckless dealing with state money and services, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, loss of confidence in the fisheries industry in South Africa, alleged decimation of fisheries resources in South Africa and delayed quota allocations due to lack of appropriate research”.
So why exactly has Pettersson been appointed to manage South Africa’s energy demands for the next five years?
The Impact Studies for the Thyspunt development are seriously flawed and residents are still awaiting the release of the supposed final reports, yet Pettersson has announced that South Africa is going ahead with nuclear energy.
One gets the feeling that should South Africa embark on the nuclear route, that the Arms Deal and all the murkiness swirling around that transaction, will look tame in comparison to what could happen when a trillion rand spend on nuclear begins to take place.