Nigeria: Community leaders oppose nuclear plant site, Star Africa, APA July 3, 2015 The Leaders Caucus of the Akwa Ibom State in south-eastern Nigeria has rejected plans by the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) to site nuclear power plant in Itu Local Government Area of the state.
He wondered what gave Nigeria, where perennial incompetence in matters of safety and security has become legendary, the impetus to venture into such a risky project, while countries with known competences like Germany, Italy, US, Russia and Japan are shutting down such plants.
Okon said that gambling with such risky issue by Nigeria was a clear and deliberate invitation to disaster of monumental proportions.
Declaring Akwa Ibom as grossly unsuitable for such projects, the leaders noted that the location of nuclear plants all over the world is done far away from human habitation, noting that Akwa Ibom is small and compact, even as there is no distance across the state that is beyond 50km……….http://en.starafrica.com/news/nigeria-community-leaders-oppose-nuclear-plant-site.html
NGO warns FG That Setting up a nuclear power plant in Nigeria would be suicidal, FunGrade, 29 June 15
Mr Nnimmo Bassey, the Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), said setting up a nuclear plant in Nigeria would be suicidal given the high level of operational challenges it would face. Bassey said this in Abuja while presenting a paper titled: “Risks and deaths as workers generate wealth’’ organised by HOMEF’s Sustainability Academy on Health and the Extractive Sector Workers. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme was sponsored by the UNDP and the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with HOMEF. He said that the setting up of a nuclear plant was suicidal because of the high technical and environmental demand associated with handling radioactive materials. “Uranium and nuclear power plants are inseparable. ”
Nigeria has found it difficult to run simple hydroelectric and thermal power plants. “It would be suicidal to install nuclear power plants here,’’ Bassey said. The director said the proposal to site such a facility in Akwa Ibom would not be advisable because of the serious environmental implication. “And to think of locating one in Akwa Ibom State is nothing but adding insult to injury in an already highly polluted Niger Delta. “It will also be a time bomb set against the workers,’’ he said. Bassey said that the sustainability academy was aimed at highlighting the fact that workers and communities were at the frontlines of exposure to toxic chemicals that often result in fatalities. The director further said that more than 2.3 million workers worldwide had been exposed to work-related diseases or accidents annually. He said that more than one million extractive industries workers die annually of toxic chemical across the globe.
The South African government has said it will not go ahead with nuclear power if the expected construction cost is more than $6500/kW, equivalent to about R130bn per reactor. However, the latest cost estimates are about 25% higher than this. This means that if the South African government sticks to its promise, the tender will fail.
Why South Africa should steer clear of nuclear, By Steve Thomas, Professor of Energy Policy at University of Greenwich Business Tech By The Conversation June
21, 2015 It would be sensible to acknowledge that a nuclear programme is not viable for resolving South Africa’s energy crisis. Rather, the country should be focusing its attention on how to end electricity blackouts and speed up energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes.
In addition, nuclear power entails a different but also serious set of risks to climate change. These include the risk of reactor accidents, the danger of weapons proliferation and the hazards of radioactive waste……
Price of nuclear
Uganda set for Africa’s largest privately owned solar plant, Business Day, BY MATT SMITH, JUNE 09 2015, DUBAI — Access Infra Africa, a Dubai-based company, will launch what it says will be Africa’s largest privately owned solar plant in Uganda this year, part of plans to develop electricity projects in 17 African countries, mainly based on renewable energy…….. http://www.bdlive.co.za/africa/africanbusiness/2015/06/09/uganda-set-for-africas-largest-privately-owned-solar-plant?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_term=Africa%20big%20solar&utm_campaign=Climate&__surl__=IgD8d&__ots__=1434878107303&__step__=1
Uranium mining town hopes long turned to dust, Mail & Guardian 05 DEC 2014 PHILLIP DE WET Dominionville residents expected a boom town when Shiva Uranium foretold promises of riches, but white poverty and black despair remain years later. The people of Dominionville in North West have seen it before, and those who were not around have heard the stories. The residents tell it among themselves like a sort of fairy tale – the pre-Disney kind, full of darkness and foreboding – warning against hope.
In 2006, it was Uranium One, they say, that sold the idea that riches would return to their town. In Canada and Europe, the company sold the story of the rich shafts – almost within sight of the residents – and they sold it well.
The people of Dominionville, more than half resigned to the idea that the tide would never turn their way again, read the articles about hundreds of millions of dollars being poured into the company, and dared to dream……
That was so many years ago that the signboards for the Shiva Uranium mines have been bleached almost illegible by the sun. As yet, the money has not materialised. Dominionville barely clings on, a place of white poverty and black despair……http://mg.co.za/article/2014-12-04-uranium-mining-towns-hopes-long-turned-to-dust
Government’s nuclear cost muddle http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/letters/2015/06/03/letter-governments-nuclear-cost-muddle Steve Thomas, Professor of Energy Policy, Public Services International Research Unit, University of Greenwich JUNE 03 2015, THE SOUTH AFRICAN NUCLEAR ENERGY CORPORATION’S XOLISA MABHONGO CLAIMS THAT “SOUTH AFRICAN PROFESSIONALS DID NOT MAKE FOOLISH ASSUMPTIONS, DO INACCURATE FINANCIAL CALCULATIONS AND GO INTO A CONSTRUCTION PLAN WITHOUT HAVING ACCURATE PROJECTIONS OF THE OUTCOME. THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN IRRESPONSIBLE” (NUCLEAR BUILD WILL POWER ECONOMIC GROWTH, MAY 29).
History suggests otherwise. When the pebble bed programme for SA to develop its own reactor design was announced in 1998, Eskom claimed a commercial reactor could be in operation by 2004 at a construction cost of less than $1,000 per kilowatt of capacity.
By 2010, commercial deployment of the pebble bed was estimated by Eskom to be 20 years away and the estimated cost of a demonstration plant had increased nearly 30-fold.
In 2006, a tender for new nuclear plants from the world market was launched with the expectation that a plant could be bought for $2,500/kW. The lowest bid was 150% more and the tender was abandoned in 2008 because it could not be financed.
Only two years later, a new attempt to order nuclear plants was launched with the publication of the first Integrated Resource Plan for the electricity industry. The prices bid in 2008 were ignored and it was assumed the cost would be only $3,500/kW. A year later, in 2011, the government had to admit this figure was far too low and revised it up to about $5,000/kW, still well below the prices bid in 2008 and below prevailing international price levels.
There are only two explanations for this continued gross underestimation of costs. Either the government is choosing to mislead the public about the actual costs, or it is far too gullible to the claims of nuclear sales people. Neither explanation reflects well on the government.
The government has promised that if the bid prices were higher than $6,500/kW, the tender would be abandoned. Given that prevailing prices in the world are now about $8,000/kW, if the government keeps its promise, the tender being launched this year is doomed to failure. It would be useful for Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to confirm now whether the promise still applies and, if it does not, how much the state is prepared to pay.
“It’s shocking that Paladin has disposed of millions of tons of radioactive and chemically hazardous waste on a plateau with very negative geological and hydrogeological characteristics,”
On the shores of Malawi’s lake of stars, activists raise uranium fears, Guardian, Santorri Chamley, 3 June 15
When dead fish were washed ashore in northern Malawi, activists and residents looked to a nearby uranium mine for answers – the latest battle in a protracted conflict with Paladin, the mine’s Australian owners “……For many of the tens of thousands of people living in Karonga, a lakeside district in northern Malawi, life revolves around fishing. So when dead fish began to wash ashore, they were worried. Some blamed pollution from the nearby Kayelekera uranium mine, the country’s biggest foreign investment.
“People are fearful because there are a lot of fish dying in the lake, so people are suggesting that they are dying because of the discharge from the Kayelekera mine,” said Harry Hudson Mwanyembe, the chairman for health and environment on Karonga’s district council.
The Australian company that owns the mine, Paladin Energy Ltd, says it has complied with all its environmental obligations and routinely monitors aquatic life in the Sere River and elsewhere. It denies any responsibility for the dead fish but its operation in Kayelekera has been beset by controversy since it was openedby the late president Bingu wa Mutharika in 2009.
The disputes, legal battles and public concern over the mine go to the heart of what many call Africa’s resource curse. As one of the continent’s poorest countries – ranking 174 of 187 countries in the UN human development index – Malawi desperately needs foreign exchange, as well as employment and infrastructure. But its pursuit of extractive wealth has been stymied by a lack of adequate regulation and transparency as well as by corruption, activists say.
In Kayelekera, the pitfalls associated with launching a multi-million dollar enterprise, with government backing, in an area where people lack access to both information and power, are evident in the many rumours, claims and counter-claims surrounding the mine’s operations……
resident of Kayelekera, Philip Simbowe, said the government had sold the lives of Malawians for cash. Continue reading
Key details of SA’s nuclear procurement plan kept under wraps, BD Live, BY CAROL PATON, 02 JUNE 2015 KEY DETAILS OF SA’S NUCLEAR PROCUREMENT PROGRAMME REMAINED SECRET IN A PRESENTATION BY TOP DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY OFFICIALS, AS WELL ENERGY MINISTER TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON TO PARLIAMENT’S PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENERGY.
However, officials said the procurement would be completed by the end of the financial year when “a strategic partner or partners” would be chosen.
While the officials gave a lengthy motivation on the need for nuclear power and SA’s preparedness for the new nuclear energy build, details about the cost, the financing and the procurement process were not provided. Inter-governmental agreements that SA has signed with various countries on nuclear co-operation, as well as a damning report by the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review on SA’s readiness also remained under wraps.
Ms Joemat-Pettersson is backed by President Jacob Zuma in her quest to build 9.6GW of nuclear generation capacity. However, there are several detractors of the plan, including the former National Planning Commission, opposition political parties and a wide array of civil society and human rights lobby groups……
DA MP Gordon MacKay said that with regard to the financing the government had got the cart before the horse.”It is strange that we are wanting to buy something that we don’t know the cost of and we don’t know how we will pay for,” he said.
Mr MacKay also criticised the secrecy of the report compiled in the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review process.While reports for other countries are available on the website of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the report compiled on SA remains “classified” despite being completed two years ago.
Mr MacKay said it was believed that the report showed SA to be unprepared for the nuclear procurement in 14 of 19 benchmark areas.http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2015/06/02/key-details-of-sas-nuclear-procurement-plan-kept-under-wraps
Too soon’ to assess SA on funding nuclear BD Live BY CHARLOTTE MATHEWS, 03 JUNE 2015, MOSCOW — Assumptions could not yet be made about SA’s capacity to finance its planned 9,600MW of new nuclear power because a number of other issues needed to be decided first, said Kirill Komarov, Rosatom State Corporation’s first deputy general director for development and international business.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the Atomexpo 2015 conference on nuclear technology in Moscow this week, which has attracted 1,600 delegates from 48 countries. Although Rosatom has the major role, there are speakers and exhibitors from nuclear vendor countries including France, Russia and China……..
The South African government seeks a large nuclear procurement despite doubts about its affordability. The target is to have the first reactor in commission by 2023……..
Given SA’s other spending priorities and weak economic growth, it seemed unlikely it could fund this programme in full………Rosatom had arranged financing for nuclear stations it built in Belarus, Hungary and India,……. • Rosatom sponsored Charlotte Mathews’s visit to Russia http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2015/06/03/too-soon-to-assess-sa-on-funding-nuclear
South Africa’s nuclear company Eskom runs out of money for assessing environmental impact of nuclear energy
Eskom runs out of money for assessing environmental impact of nuclear energy SOUTH AFRICA enca.com 23 May 2015 JOHANNESBURG – Government says nuclear power in South Africa is going ahead. Earlier this week Energy Minister Tina Joematt-Peterson said that procurement deals would be signed with prospective partners by the end of 2015.
In the next ten years, government plans to introduce 9600MWs of nuclear energy.
But signing procurement deals is one half of the process. The other half of the process has stalled.
The second version of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the site proposed for Nuclear 1, at Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape is not complete.
During a question and answer session in Parliament in March Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown in a written reply said that Eskom had run out of money to complete the report.
“It was put on hold during 2013/14 due to funding constraints in Eskom. In 2014, additional funds were approved and the finalisation of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (revision 2) was initiated,” noted the reply.
Eskom said this version of the report is due to be released to the public in May 2015 for comment but the Minister of Public Works says this has been put on hold due to the limited funding.
In the Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008, Eskom was designated as owner operator for nuclear plants in South Africa. The Department of Energy says this means that Eskom is responsible for applying and obtaining various permits including EIA and nuclear licenses.
Eskom has already spent R35 million on the report, which was funded by the income generated from tariffs.
“Eskom, in terms of the electricity regulations, is allowed to budget for and spend money on activities that are deemed prudent for the development of generation project,” noted the power utility in a statement.
However, in 2014 Eskom had to reprioritise its expenditure, “The funding of the EIA was cut in favour of other projects and activities deemed more essential in nature
Costs for the EIA’s specialist studies are now being managed on an individual study and activity level. Still outstanding is the biodiversity offset study, public participation meetings and some still need to go through the independent phase review.
Eskom says this final stage is vital, “This phase of independent review is necessary to ensure that all issues raised have been addressed in an independent and transparent manner.”
The Department Energy says even though it’s not directly involved in the EIA process it is watching Eskom’s progress on the issue……
- Others watching the process are the Thyspunt Alliance, a group opposing the development in the Eastern Cape.
Trudi Malan said they are working with their own experts to verify the findings of Eskom’s report, “The problem with the Eskom EIA is that their experts only spend three of four days on the site, when we actually need more information,” she said.
The first draft of the EIA was thrown out because incorrect methodology was used to do the assessment……..http://www.enca.com/south-africa/eskom-has-no-money-complete-environment-impact-assessment-nuclear-energy-project-site
Government hiding nuclear power plant costs: Earthlife Africa http://mybroadband.co.za/news/energy/127160-government-hiding-nuclear-power-plant-costs-earthlife-africa.html
Nuclear critic Earthlife Africa argues that South Africa’s new power plants are another arms deal scandal waiting to happen By Staff Writer – May 24, 2015 The South African government has done studies on what it would cost to build the planned 6 or 8 nuclear power stations, but it is not releasing the information (Also see: ANC wants to use people’s retirement savings to bail out Eskom).
This is according to nuclear critic and Earthlife Africa project co-ordinator Tristen Taylor, the Sunday Times reported.
Taylor was responding to comments from deputy director general of the Department of Energy, Zizamele Mbambo, who said that it would be premature for government to release figures at this stage, as prices were still being negotiated.
Mbambo’s comments were surprising, Taylor said, adding that government is not releasing the studies because it knows the nuclear power plants are going to cost a lot of money. Continue reading
Namibia’s Rossing Uranium revenue tumbled in 2014 – official, Star Africa May 19, 2015 The impact of lower prices and the lower production figures in 2014 has strained Rossing Uranium’s revenue, which declined by 19 per cent compared to the previous year, leading to a net loss after tax of N$91 million (about US$8 million), compared to N$32 million (about US$2.7 million) profit in 2013.
The company’s turnover in 2014 was N$2.4 billion (about US$201 million), down from N$2.9 billion (about US$243 million) in 2013.
Managing director Werner Duvenhage revealed in a statement issued to APA on Tuesday that 2014 was a tough year due to continued decline of uranium globally, putting substantial pressure on the business.
â€œThe challenging times currently experienced in our industry are mainly because of global influences. It was a tough year because the uranium price continued to decline globally, putting substantial pressure on our business, with the average uranium spot market price at US$33 (N$333) per lbs, much lower than the US$38 (N$418)) per lbs average in 2013,â€� he explained……….
Unfortunately, the uranium price declined further during the first half of the year, leading to a management and board decision to curtail production and meet only contractual commitments, with the resulting curtailment production plan effective from August 2014,â€� he said.
â€œThe 2011 tsunami in Japan and its impact on the Fukushima nuclear plant still continued to plague the uranium market in 2014, with excess supply causing a decline in market prices.
â€œNuclear plants in Japan remained off-line for most of the year. Supply has increased over the three years since the Fukushima incident.
â€œThis is a recipe for continued weak prices in the near term. Utilities are holding large stocks in all forms, which defer their need to buy for one to three years on averageâ€�……http://en.starafrica.com/news/namibias-rossing-uranium-revenue-tumbled-in-2014-official.html
Could this be the world’s most efficient solar electricity system?, Guardian, Jeffrey Barbee, 14 May 15
Using military technology and a zero-emission engine invented by a 19th-century Scot, Swedish firm seeks to revolutionise solar energy production. A new solar electricity generation system that developers claim is the most efficient in the world, is being tested in South Africa’s Kalahari desert.
The Swedish company behind the project – which combines military technology with an idea developed by a 19th-century Scottish engineer and clergyman – says it is on the verge of building its first commercial installation.
In the remote Northern Cape province, huge mirrors reflect the sun across the brown Kalahari sand. This is the test site for Swedish company Ripasso, which is using the intense South African sun and local manufacturing know-how to develop their cutting-edge kit.
“Our whole team in South Africa has been hired locally, and our new systems have all been built with local South African labour. It works great,” says CEO Gunnar Larsson.
This is the only working small-scale concentrated solar energy system of its kind in the world. 34% of the sun’s energy hitting the mirrors is converted directly to grid-available electric power, compared to roughly half that for standard solar panels. Traditional photovoltaic panels are able to turn about 23% of the solar energy that strikes them into electricity, but this is cut to around 15% before it is usable by the grid.
Jean-Pierre Fourie is Ripasso’s South African site manager. His crew has been testing the system in the Kalahari under harsh desert conditions for four years. “What we hope is to become one of the biggest competitors for renewable energy in the world.”
The massive 100 square metre dishes slowly rotate, following the sun. Light clicks and taps fill the still desert air as they constantly adjust to capture the maximum solar energy.
Independent tests by IT Power in the UK confirm that a single Ripasso dish can generate 75 to 85 megawatt hours of electricity a year – enough to power 24 typical UK homes. To make the same amount of electricity by burning coal would mean releasing roughly 81 metric tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere………
The project has not been without its troubles. “Our major challenge over the last couple of years has been to get the technology accepted by the financing community, especially from the banks,” says Larsson.
Although banks have been unwilling to finance such novel technology, Ripasso has now secured private funding to begin their first large-scale installation. “We are very ready to head into the commercial phase,” says Larsson. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/13/could-this-be-the-worlds-most-efficient-solar-electricity-system
Malawi warned against reopening uranium mine http://www.ventures-africa.com/archives/62631 May 12, 2015 VENTURES AFRICA – The World Bank has warned Malawi against reopening its only uranium mine, saying the project should be put on hold until global prices improve.
Australia mining company, Paladin Energy, is developing Malawi’s only uranium mine, the Kayelekera uranium mine, in Karonga, northern Malawi. The project was initial suspended in 2014 because of the then unfavourable price climate, but there are indications that the company plans to resume operations in the coming months. “Whether or not the mine at Kayelekera eventually resumes operations will depend primarily on future prospects for global uranium prices, for which the immediate outlook is uncertain,” the World Bank told Malawi in its latest report.Uranium from mining is used almost entirely as fuel for nuclear power plants.
In 2013, Malawi was ranked as the third largest producer of uranium in Africa and tenth in the world. It is behind Namibia and Niger in Africa.
Last year, uranium global prices crashed to $36, from $51 per pound. This posed a major setback to Paladin Energy Africa, having invested heavily on the premise that prices will climb to $70. The Kayelekera uranium deposit was discovered by UK’s CEGB firm and a feasibility study was subsequently undertaken in the 1980s. Paladin acquired the deposit in 1997, accepted a Bankable Feasibility Study early in 2007, and, following environmental approval, undertook a $220 million development. The mine was opened in April 2009.
Paladin Energy (Africa) Ltd holds Paladin’s 85 percent interest following the Development Agreement with the Government of Malawi in control of the remaining 15 percent. Kayelekera production commenced in mid-2009, and in 2012 production reached 1103 tU, followed by 1134 tU in 2013.
Malawi: Paladin Starts Discharging Uranium Wastes Into Public Rivers, AllAfrica, By Bishop Witmos Karonga April 23: Few months after Paladin Africa Limited differed with civil society organizations (CSOs) and some chiefs in Karonga over the disposition of uranium wastes into public water, the company has started discharging the effluent into Sere River.
Paladin Africa Limited, a member of the Paladin Energy group of companies, suspended its operations at Kayelekera Mine in the district in May, 2014, due to unstable uranium prices at an international market. The project is now on care and maintenance.
Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established Paladin invited Paramount Chief Kyungu and the District Commissioner (DC) for Karonga, Rosemary Moyo, to a meeting in Lilongwe early April this year (2015),to brief them about the company’s recent decision.
Paladin Africa Acting General Manager in Malawi, Greg Walker, confirmed in a telephone interview that the company, indeed, started releasing the uranium wastes into the public rivers………
Sere River flows into North Rukuru River, then into Lake Malawi.
When asked why the company decided to brief Paramount Chief Kyungu and the Karonga DC about their action in Lilongwe instead of explaining it to the general populace of Karonga, Walker said the company conducted enough meetings with relevant authorities in the district……..
Despite the decision by Paladin to start discharging its effluent into the public water, some people in the district feet it would have been safer if the company had constructed another dam where the wastes would be transferred into.
Chairperson for Karonga District Council, Patrick Kishombe, said in an interview the plan to release the waste water from the storage dam into Sere River is raising fears amongst communities who feel the water is not fully treated and could be a health hazard.
“This, I believe, will lead into many hazards, like killing of fish in Lake Malawi and may also cause skin cancer to some people,” said Kishombe.
Uranium contains gamma rays, particles that cause skin cancer to human kind, according to experts.
In developed nations, mining companies construct a stable tank that stores all the wastes, ready for transportation to recommended disposal sites. ……http://allafrica.com/stories/201504231621.html
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