The Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) conducted to assess and predict the environmental consequences of a nuclear power station at Thyspunt are outdated cannot be used in support of the proposed trillion rand nuclear build programme, the Democratic Alliance says.
The DA said on Sunday that this is yet another reason why Minister of Energy Tina Joematt-Pettersson must “move to scrap this secretive and unaffordable nuclear deal once and for all”.
In a statement‚ DA spokesman on energy Gordon MacKay said this information had come to light in a reply to a DA parliamentary question in which the Minister of Energy revealed that the EIAs – which are needed before construction can begin – were carried out for only three of the proposed sites by Eskom between 2007 and 2008.
“The DA has reviewed the existing EIAs and we have noted deficiencies in at least two respects.
“Firstly‚ the EIA’s have only assessed the suitability and environmental impact of High Pressurized Water Reactors‚ a technology currently being used at South Africa’s sole nuclear site at Koeberg.
“The EIA’s have not considered technology being offered by other bid vendors such as Rossatom’s AES 2006 reactor.
This reactor‚ the VVER‚ is a water to water pressurised rector and differs materially from the design evaluated by the EIA. Adoption of technology from vendor nations with designs deviating from Koeberg’s would therefore be ill advised and invalid.
“Secondly‚ the EIA was conducted when the power utility was planning on expanding its nuclear generating fleet through the nuclear-1 project – a much smaller‚ single site project which does not compare to the current proposed build programme‚” Mr MacKay asserted.
Thyspunt is the preferred site to build the first nuclear power plant, despite the EIA process not being completed and based on unknown designs for the power plant.