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LISTEN | How safe is SA's Koeberg nuclear power station?

Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town.
Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES

DispatchLIVE explores one of South Africans most unenviable environmentally sensitive choices: support nuclear power, possibly the only viable option to mass electricity generation if coal is phased out, or support the globe's biggest greenhouse gas culprit?

Unabated coal use will be a key factor warming the planet past the point that humans can survive. On the other hand a nuclear disaster at Koeberg, near Cape Town or at the proposed new site at Thyspunt, near Gqeberha, would kill thousands, especially if meltdowns are on the scale of the horrific disasters at Chernobyl, Fukushima or Three Mile Island.

It would also render most of the surrounding land unusable, and this includes the country’s prime tourist city.

SA is under global pressure to reduce the use of coal, and nuclear may be the best of the worst alternatives.

This is one reason for the 40-year-old Koeberg’s facelift, started this year. It will keep it operating for another 20 years.

However, is Koeberg safe? Rumours that it is built on fault lines persist.

A retired Koeberg veteran is convinced that it is more than safe, and explains why.

And he should know, having been part of the team that built Koeberg and subsequently being responsible for equipment safety for many years.





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