LISTEN | Nuclear or natural? Experts discuss plans for EC nuclear plant and Koeberg refurbishment

The first of six new 380-ton steam generators arrived at Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town on September 29 2020.
The first of six new 380-ton steam generators arrived at Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town on September 29 2020.
Image: Eskom
The first of six new 380-ton steam generators arrived at Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town on September 29 2020.
The first of six new 380-ton steam generators arrived at Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town on September 29 2020.
Image: Eskom
Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town.
Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES

While the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast residents fight Shell’s ocean blasting oil search, spare a thought for Capetonians. If Eskom has its way it will soon start refurbishing Koeberg, despite the decrepit 40-year-old plant being way past retirement age.



Francesca de Gasparis, a fierce opponent of fossil and nuclear fuel said a 20-year extension of Koeberg places the Cape Peninsula in the shadow of a nuclear disaster that would make Chernobyl seem like a firecracker.

This, for a power supplier that contributes less the 5% of power to the national grid?

However, Eastern Cape is also under a long-term threat. Plans for a nuke plant at Thyspunt are advanced. Gqeberha, Plettenberg Bay and Cape St Francis will be under threat. Any Eskom foul ups, and who could argue against the possibility given the incompetence with new stations Kusile and Medupi, could result in radioactive fallout.

De Gasparis said communities are duty-bound to fight back.

She said her organisation, SAFCEI, with the aid of Earthlife Africa, assisted in derailing Jacob Zuma’s illegal R1-trillion nuclear deal with Russia.

While the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast residents fight Shell’s ocean blasting oil search, spare a thought for Capetonians. If Eskom has its way it will soon start refurbishing Koeberg, despite the decrepit 40-year-old plant being way past retirement age.

“We will hammer Gwede (Mantashe) about Koeberg; on his failure to engage local people, keeping them in the dark about the impact of a nuclear power station that might — and might is enough -fail the safety test.

“Would thinking people accept Eskom’s promises about precautions? Not with its on-off load-shedding lies.”

EA Ulrich Steenkamp believes environmental bodies have cut Eskom’s wriggle room, putting them in a tight corner.“Refurbishment to extend Koeberg’s lifespan requires the relevant license, and Eskom does not have one.”

De Gasparis and Steenkamp share their strategy on how they plan to keep SA on the danger-free road to natural energy.



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