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2018 Goldman Environmental Prize goes to South African anti nuclear activists

Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid, 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, South Africa

South African activists awarded Goldman Environmental Prize for fight against nuclear power deal http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-24/two-south-african-women-stopped-international-nuclear-deal/9691528, The World Today By Sally Sara

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April 25, 2018 Posted by | legal, opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

Two women tooki on the South Afric an government – and won their anti nuclear fight

Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid, 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, South Africa 

South African activists awarded Goldman Environmental Prize for fight against nuclear power deal http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-24/two-south-african-women-stopped-international-nuclear-deal/9691528, The World Today ,By Sally Sara

April 24, 2018 Posted by | Legal, opposition to nuclear, South Africa | 1 Comment

South Africa’s Director General of Energy says there’s no new nuclear build programme

ENERGY DEPT: NO NEW NUCLEAR BUILD PROGRAMME, Eyewitness News,  Director General of Energy Thabane Zulu says the government doesn’t plan to spend any money on advancing its nuclear programme in this financial year. Lindsay  Dentlinger 17 Apr 18  CAPE TOWN The Department of Energy says there’s no new nuclear build programme.

The R816 million allocated in 2018’s national budget is purely for the ongoing work of the country’s nuclear institutions.

Members of Parliament’s energy committee on Tuesday sought clarity around the future of the country’s nuclear programme, but committee chairperson Fikile Majola says Minister Jeff Radebe should rather be called to do the explaining.

The Director General of Energy Thabane Zulu says the government doesn’t plan to spend any money on advancing its nuclear programme in this financial year.

He can’t say when the department will be ready to submit the long-awaited, updated Integrated Resource Plan to Cabinet, which will outline the country’s energy needs……http://ewn.co.za/2018/04/17/energy-dept-no-new-nuclear-build-programme

April 18, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa: confusion and uncertainty over costly nuclear deal

Uncertainty mounts over costly nuclear deal https://www.iol.co.za/sundayindependent/uncertainty-mounts-over-costly-nuclear-deal-14317275  SUNDAY INDEPENDENT / 8 APRIL 2018,  SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI   Cape Town – South Africa’s decision on the nuclear programme is likely to be clarified in the next two weeks when Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe briefs Parliament on whether it’s officially off the table or not.

Portfolio committee on energy chairperson Fikile Majola said on Saturday Radebe would appear before the committee in the week of April 17 to talk about independent power producers (IPP), the nuclear energy programme and the sale of the country’s oil reserves.

Majola said he did not know if a definite decision had been made to scrap the nuclear programme, but Radebe would shed light on this then.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in Davos, Switzerland, in January the programme was off the table.

This was followed by statements from former finance minister Malusi Gigaba and his successor Nhlanhla Nene to the effect that the nuclear project was unaffordable.

But Majola said he was not aware that nuclear energy was off the table.

“The committee is not aware of what is going to happen besides what the president has said.”

The government signed several agreements this week with the IPPs amounting to R55.6 billion. But this elicited an angry response from the National Union of Mineworkers and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.

When the matter was in the High Court in the Western Cape, Radebe said there would not be any nuclear deal until the matter had been brought before Parliament.

However, Ramaphosa has said it was off the table and did not even mention it in his State of the Nation Address.

Russian energy firm Rosatom told Independent Media recently it was still bidding for nuclear contracts and had not heard anything from the government.

Rosatom has signed multiple agreements in Africa to deliver nuclear energy. In Egypt the Russians bagged a nuclear deal worth $30 billion (R360 billion), with $25bn of it to be vendor financing.

This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin was in Turkey to sign another nuclear deal.

The Russians are to build a nuclear plant on the coast of Turkey. This followed an agreement signed a few years ago.

Head of Rosatom in southern Africa Viktor Polikarpov said recently the company was in Ghana and was moving into East Africa.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa: the country that built nuclear weapons and then gave them up

The Shocking Story of How One Country Built Nuclear Weapons (And Gave Them Up), National Interest,  Dave Majumdar, 28 Mar 18, 

The region and the world are undoubtedly safer because of the decisions made in the 1990s to relinquish South Africa’s nuclear program. Moreover, the dismantling of the relatively small program provided a template for how other nuclear powers could think about eliminating their own programs. However, with the exception of the Soviet successor states (which faced dramatically different constraints) no other states have yet taken up South Africa’s example. With the apparent increase in global tensions over the past few years, it seems unlikely that anyone will join South Africa in the post-nuclear club anytime soon.

The Republic of South Africa is the only country in the world to build a nuclear weapons program, then unbuild that program after domestic and international conditions changed. Why did South Africa decide to build nukes, how did it build them and why did it decide to give them up? The answers are largely idiosyncratic, although they may hold some lessons for the future of nuclear weapons development on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere……..http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-shocking-story-how-one-country-built-nuclear-weapons-25110

 

March 28, 2018 Posted by | South Africa, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia hopes to build nuclear reactors in Sudan (just the safest place?)

Sudan, Russia to sign accord to develop nuclear power: SUNA agency https://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKCN1GP0ME-OZATP Reuters Staff, 13 Mar 18KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan will sign a“roadmap” with Russia to build nuclear power stations during a visit to Moscow by Khartoum’s electricity minister, state news agency SUNA said on Monday.

SUNA said Water Resources, Irrigation, and Electricity Minister Moataz Mousa, who left Khartoum on Monday, would meet the head of Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom. The trip comes four months after Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin he wanted to discuss nuclear power cooperation with Russia. SUNA quoted a spokesman for the ministry as saying the two sides would sign several memorandums of understanding including the roadmap“to implement a plan to develop nuclear (power) stations”. It did not elaborate.  Reporting by Omar Fahmy, editing by David Evans

March 14, 2018 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia keen to sell nuclear power to Ethiopia

Russia to help with Ethiopia’s nuclear energy ambitions, African News 
Source: Xinhua   2018-03-10 00:32:45
 ADDIS ABABA, March 9 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia and Russia agreed on Friday to boost cooperation in nuclear energy during a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Speaking to local and international media, Lavrov said Russia will assist Ethiopia’s nuclear energy ambitions as part of efforts to strengthen political, economic and cultural ties between the two nations…..http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-03/10/c_137028152.htm

March 9, 2018 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

South Africa cannot afford to build a new nuclear reactor, but Environmental Department gave permit anyway

Business Report 5th March 2018, The Department of Environmental Affairs recently granted an environmental
permit for a new 4000-megawatt nuclear plant, close to the continent’s
only existing nuclear site, at Koeberg in the Western Cape.

This is despite former finance minister Malusi Gigaba recently stating that construction of
a new plant was unaffordable. Greenpeace Africa has vowed to protest the
construction of the new nuclear plant, saying it would infringe on the
environmental rights of present and future citizens of the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa conveyed at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland that the country’s economy indicates that South Africa cannot
afford to build a major nuclear plant. Perhaps the permit granted to Eskom
should be revisited.
https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/opinion/opinion-benefits-and-risks-of-a-nuclear-energy-programme-13601502

March 9, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

INTERVIEW:  Niger: “In Arlit, people drink water contaminated by radioactivity”

 This fear is also present in
 The word Areva is scary. It’s a taboo subject unless it’s to magnify the business. People want to talk, but like the Nigerian government, they feel helpless against this multinational. When I was doing my scouting, many people told me that I was putting myself in danger. Here, when you talk about Areva, it’s like a God, you should not call your name out loud.

In the documentary, you show this radioactive dust, poisoned water, houses built with land mines, contaminated food, livestock dying .

Houses must even be destroyed because the clay walls contain radioactivity.

The uranium deposits exploited by Orano (formerly Areva) are poisoning the population, explains Amina Weira, author of a documentary on the subject.

Interview by Matteo Maillard (Dakar, correspondence) http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2018/02/26/niger-a-arlit-les-gens-boivent-de-l-eau-contaminee-par-la-radioactivite_5262875_3212.html  THE WORLD  27.02.2018

It was a Tuareg encampment swept by bursts of Saharan simoun. Today it is a city that bears the mark of its development as its decadence. In Arlit, in northern Niger, uranium has been a source of hope since the French group Areva (renamed Orano in January) began mining the deposits in the 1970s.

Many nomads and workers came to this arid region. the workers’ city which was then called “the second Paris”. None knew the invisible danger of radioactivity.

Forty years later, Niger became the second largest supplier of uranium to Areva, but the mining of Cominak and Somair contaminated the population in its daily activities. It is in the sanded streets of her childhood that Amina Weira, a 29-year-old Nigerian filmmaker, posed her camera in front of the elders who lived through the early days of mining. In this film entitled La Rage dans le vent, presented in Dakar as part of the Films Femmes Afrique festival, she shows the invisible threat hanging over Arlit. Interview.

In your movie, the main protagonist is your father. You visit your relatives and tell the city of your childhood. Why did you choose this intimate setting?

 Amina Weira:   Because mine has always been part of our lives. My father worked there as an electrician. When my sisters and I saw him go to work, we imagined he was going to an office. The mine was visible from a distance, until in 2010 we visited his place of work and realized that he was going down into this big hole. I decided to make a film about it. I quickly understood, after research, that behind this activity was hiding something else less visible: irradiation. So I directed my film on the health aspect.

How did you realize the impact of the mine on the health of the inhabitants? 

When I was little already, the mother of one of my classmates had health problems every time she came to Arlit. It was necessary to evacuate it to Niamey, more than a thousand kilometers, to cure it. I did not understand why she could not live here. Later, when I wanted to do the film, I asked scientists and doctors about the dangers of mining. In Arlit, there are many health problems. Respiratory difficulties, cancers, women who give birth to poorly trained children … Small, we saw all that, but we did not make the link. People used to say, as often in Africa, “it’s his destiny, it’s God who gave him a child like that”. It is mostly mine retirees who are affected. Many die of paralysis and strange diseases.

 In the documentary, you show this radioactive dust, poisoned water, houses built with land mines, contaminated food, livestock dying …

I wanted to bring out everyday life, show all the activities of the city. We see the manufacture of pots: people recover the scrap metal from the mine, melt it and transform it into kitchen utensils that they sell to the population or export to Nigeria. They do not measure the danger of this activity. When they melt iron, the radioactivity is released. This is where Areva must intervene, preventing the population from recovering this contaminated scrap metal.

Houses must even be destroyed because the clay walls contain radioactivity.

 It should be understood that in the beginning, Arlit was a camp, a city of miners, then people came to settle, hoping to take advantage of this activity. Today, there are nearly 150,000 inhabitants, including about 4,000 mine workers. Areva created this city from scratch. The workers had to have all the conditions to stay. They had children, it took schools. They were sick, it took hospitals. To build, the inhabitants used the contaminated clay around them. Some neighborhoods are within 200 meters of the mine. The standards are not respected. And sandstorms propagate radioactivity in the city.

We also see women whose livestock die inexplicably.

When we drink Arlit’s water, we feel that it is not quite drinkable, that it is different from the rest of the country. The women talk about Areva employees who only drink mineral water, when they can not afford it. One of the mines is below the water table. Some are therefore deliver water from neighboring regions. A water tower has just been built, but it is not enough to supply the entire city.

 You do not present your film as an investigation, there are no scientists or organizations that support your remarks. Why ?

 I did not want to dwell on the numbers, but to give the floor to the people. Too often, we give the floor to the leaders of Areva. But many organizations have researched and analyzed radioactivity in the region, such as the Criirad [Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity], Greenpeace, WHO [World Health Organization]. Radioactivity levels are higher than the rest of the country.

What do you say to Areva?

 That they have monopolized our wealth without warning the workers of the risks incurred. They have relied on the ignorance of the people to make profit. The workers live in a city where they pay neither water nor electricity nor rent. There is a certain luxury that keeps them in silence, because it is difficult to spit in the soup. Niger has a very high unemployment rate. An unemployed youth is not going to think twice about offering these benefits. He gets used to this luxury and even if he realizes the harmful effects on his health, he will not say anything for fear of losing his job.

 Have you been pressured by Areva during filming?

No, not at all, it is rather the Nigerian authorities who wanted to block me. I had obtained filming authorizations from the National Film Center and Arlit Town Hall. We were arrested twice, but since I was in good standing, they left me alone. The title of the movie, Anger in the Wind, helped me a lot. They thought I was making a film about the wind, the desert, without much knowledge of the synopsis.
 
Why was the film censored in Niger?
By fear. When I propose the film to movie theater operators, they say they do not want any problems. They are afraid that my producers, who are part of the alternative environment, are perceived as opponents. I broadcast my film in several French institutes in Africa. That of Niamey also wanted to disseminate it, but it has not received the approval of the Embassy of France.

 This fear is also present in the population?

 The word Areva is scary. It’s a taboo subject unless it’s to magnify the business. People want to talk, but like the Nigerian government, they feel helpless against this multinational. When I was doing my scouting, many people told me that I was putting myself in danger. Here, when you talk about Areva, it’s like a God, you should not call your name out loud.

 Has the film been successful abroad?
Yes, it has been around the world since 2016 and has won a dozen awards. After Brazil and the United States, I was invited to Japan. I did not think one day make a movie that would be seen until there. It’s a pride, I tell myself that my work has served something. But I made this film for my country first and I hope that someday it can be seen there.

Towards the end of the film, a group of young Nigerians said, “We have richness in our basement, but all we are left with is radioactivity. Is it a shared feeling?
 
These young people are part of an association whose slogan is “the post-mine”. They say that uranium is a natural resource that will run out one day or another. In Arlit, which exists only by uranium, if this resource disappears or if Areva decides to no longer exploit it, what will become of it? Will the city continue to exist? If Areva leaves today, the only legacy left to them is this radioactive waste. This “post-mine” must be planned now. You have to prepare for that.

February 28, 2018 Posted by | health, Niger, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium | Leave a comment

Mahlobo must accept death knell of South Africa’s Nuclear Deal – Gavin Davis

Mahlobo must accept death knell of Nuclear Deal – Gavin Davis, Politics Web, Gavin Davis | 22 February 2018

DA MP says President must stop the gazetting of Integrated Resource Plan
Nuclear Deal: Ramaphosa must stop the gazetting of the Integrated Resource Plan

22 February 2018

Minister Gigaba’s Budget Speech, which contained no funding for a new nuclear build, should signal the death knell of the nuclear deal.

The time has come for Minister Mahlobo to accept that his attempt to deliver the nuclear deal has failed. With Zuma gone, he has outlasted his usefulness and should be removed from Cabinet without delay.

The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), that was apparently approved by the Zuma Cabinet in December, left the door open for a new nuclear build. This was despite every credible study rejecting new investment in nuclear as part of the IRP and recommending investment in renewables and gas instead.

We call on President Ramaphosa to put a stop to the gazetting of Mahlobo’s IRP. Instead, Minister Mahlobo should be removed from office and a new Minister appointed to ensure that the new IRP is based on the latest cutting-edge modelling and research……..

We need an IRP that favours clean, reliable energy at the lowest cost. We don’t need a nuclear deal and, as Minister Gigaba has made clear, we cannot afford it. So let’s shut the door on this corrupt nuclear deal once and for all. http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/nuclear-deal-mahlobo-must-accept-death-knell–gavi

February 24, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Not just Russian but ANY nuclear new-build is a poor choice for South Africa

South Africa’s Electricity Choice, Part 4: The dangers of dealing with Russia, Daily Maverick, ANTON EBERHARD & AMORY LOVINS, SOUTH AFRICA, 19 FEB 2018 

Read parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series here, here and here

        .

Courts may have struck down the nuclear agreement between South Africa and Russia but ministers in the Zuma government have indicated they are not done discussing nuclear power and Russian involvement. This is of major concern to many – not only because of a possible compromise in SA’s national sovereignty and independence but also due to the ulterior motives Russia might have due to its economic troubles and the dubious need to build nuclear power plants despite lacking the capital to finance it.

Procurement and financial risks

South African officials have made a wide range of statements in the past few years about whether the government intends a “fair, transparent and competitive procurement process”, or a process with that form but not its substance (as vendors may expect), or an opaque direct negotiation between the South African government and another government, most likely that of the Russian Federation. During a series of private presidential meetingsover the past seven years, these two countries concluded an unusually strong and specific nuclear agreement. It gave Russia a veto over South Africa’s nuclear co-operation with any other country, enabled Russia to withhold any data it wishes from public scrutiny, exempted Russia from any accident liability and promised Russia favourable tax and financial treatment. While denying favouritism, South Africa did not appear to have offered similar terms to any other potential partner. Though the April 2017 decision of the Western Cape High Court set aside this agreement, officials have continued to imply that a nuclear deal with the Russians is likely……..

 is Russia a credible and reliable financial partner? Its National Wealth Fund, estimated at $72-billion, is under pressure; by early 2015 it was already overextended by $24-billion pledged to finance nuclear exports to four countries. (Those included the Hungarian Paks nuclear deal, whose low-interest loan commitment helped crash Russia’s foreign-trade bank needing an $18-billion bailout.) About another $64-billion would be needed to fulfil other offers already extended. And even that couldn’t go far if more than a handful of deals were like the proposed Bangladeshi Rooppur plant mentioned above – 90% financed ($12-billion) at 2.55 percent annual interest with a 10-year grace period, then an 18-year repayment.

Rosatom, the self-regulated state nuclear enterprise, is led by a former prime minister reporting to President Vladimir Putin and exempted from all normal state controls. Independent experts agree that Rosatom (or any other state entity) would be lucky to build half the 30 additional nuclear projects it’s trying to sell for $300-billion to a dozen more countries including South Africa. Russia’s interest rate in early 2016 was twice (and in an earlier spike, over three times) what any coal-competitive nuclear project would require. The Russian state’s capacity to absorb the spread is quickly vanishing. Russia’s domestic reactor starts halved in 2015; all state nuclear subsidies are to halt in 2016. Yet without those subsidies, “Rosatom wouldn’t complete a single project anywhere”.

Russia needs huge amounts of outside capital to finance its nuclear commitments. …….

Not just Russian but any nuclear new-build is a poor choice for South Africa. It cannot compete with efficiency and renewables, by every relevant measure: cost, timeliness, financing, jobs, economic development, environmental and safety risk, independence, security, abundance of eternally free local energy sources, and the social good of “energy democracy”. These goals support and are advanced by the agenda of “an electricity sector that will deliver, transparently, competitively, reliably and sustainably, the electric services that will power economic growth and improve the welfare of all our people”.

It has come to this: ever more sales-starved nuclear vendors, seeking ever less solvent customers, now offer a risky project the seller can’t finance to a customer who can’t pay – a customer with no need, enchanted by the same nuclear devotees whose broken promises already cost the nation dearly, and with no apparent accountability.

South Africans deserve, and politics or markets will ultimately deliver, reliable and affordable electrical services – enough, for all, for ever. At issue is how much money, time and opportunity for national advancement will be lost before South Africa finally abandons the folly of procuring new nuclear power plants.    https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-02-19-south-africas-electricity-choice-part-4-the-dangers-of-dealing-with-russia/#.WoyRylpubGg

 

February 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Hopes that South Africa’s new president will scrap nuclear deal

Greenpeace Africa hopes Ramaphosa will scrap nuclear deal https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/energy/greenpeace-africa-hopes-ramaphosa-will-scrap-nuclear-deal-13320867 16 FEBRUARY 2018 CAPE TOWN – “We trust that president Cyril Ramaphosa will listen to the massive opposition from the South African public and leave the dodgy nuclear deal far behind,” Greenpeace Africa said on Friday.

The South African civil society groups and opposition parties have been pushing back on government’s plan to add 9 600 megawatts of electricity to the grid through nuclear plants.

Happy Khambule, the political advisor at Greenpeace Africa notes that there is a tough job ahead for the new leadership of the country. “We believe one of the most pressing issues is to start to create stability, increase trust in the country’s government, and to choose a new pathway in establishing transparency and accountability in the energy sector”.

In an interview with the eNCA, Khambule has said that they will utilize all communication platforms at their availability to engage with the relevant government departments in ensuring that Greanpeace influences Ramaphosa’s decisions on energy matters.

Greenpeace Africa also looks forward to the new Integrated Resource Plan and calls on Ramaphosa to “stop that coal”.

Khambule feels that there was a distant relationship between the former president Jacob Zuma and the energy advocacy groups.

“It is time to remove the barriers to renewable energy, which can enable the achievement of universal access to energy and power disadvantaged communities much faster and at a cost South Africans can afford. We call on the President to push ahead with a renewable-powered future that will not leave South Africans in the dark,” this organisation said in a statement.

Ramaphosa recently commented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, that South Africa had “excess power right now and we have no money to go for major nuclear plant building”.

Melita Steele, the senior campaign manager at Greenpeace Africa said, “Greenpeace has long argued that nuclear is never safe, and is simply unaffordable”.

She further said that the organisation looks forward to the updated IRP without the inclusion of crushing nuclear energy investments.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa will soon elect his new cabinet and the Energy Minister, David Mahlobo is unlikely to retain his position, according to lobby groups and economists.

Wayne Duvenage, the CEO of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse told Business Report that Mahlobo has limited experience on energy and his appointment as the Energy Minister was based on Zuma’s interest in speeding up the nuclear deal with Russia. “Ramaphosa will be problematic with him in this regard”.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear power to Congo

Russia and Congo to cooperate in nuclear power, WNN, 14 February 2018    Rosatom and the Ministry of Scientific Research and Technological Innovations of the Republic of Congo have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The document was signed yesterday in Moscow by the Russian state nuclear corporation’s deputy director general for international relations, Nikolay Spassky, and the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Congo in Russia, David Maduka.

The document establishes a legal basis for the implementation of bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas, Rosatom said. These include the development of nuclear infrastructure in the Republic of Congo and programmes aimed at increased awareness of nuclear technologies and their applications…..http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Russia-and-Congo-to-cooperate-in-nuclear-power-14021801.html

February 16, 2018 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Warning to South Africa – on nuclear dependence to Russia

Chasing nuclear energy could lead to capture – expert https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/chasing-nuclear-energy-could-lead-to-capture-expert-13222078 11 FEBRUARY 2018  Cape Town – A leading oil and gas lawyer and African entrepreneur has warned South Africa against pursuing nuclear energy, saying any proposed deal might come with political pressure which could lead to “capture”.

NJ Ayuk, who is widely recognised as one of the top influential businessman in the sector globally, said there was no reason for South Africa to consider nuclear energy and instead it should invest in clean renewable energy to create jobs and grow its economy.

Ayuk said the consideration for nuclear could lead to the country succumbing to external pressures.

“We need to stop having short-term fixes to our challenges. If we continue to look to other powers for solutions, we will have to succumb to what they want. Is that what South Africa wants?” he asked.

With South Africa’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN’s Security Council this year, Ayuk warned if the country were to consider nuclear energy and partner with another country, this would diminish its position on the influential body.

Speculation about South Africa seeking partnership with Russia has come to the fore over the past year, with the government denying that a deal had been made.

“Do you want a member of the Security Council that’s dependent on another country for its energy security and needs? Africa needs a representative that will articulate its views and not one that will be perceived to be captured by another strong power,” he said.

For decades South Africa relied on coal for electricity and synthetic fuel production but needs to look at other energy sources to meet its climate change commitments.

Recent studies have also shown a decline in global demand for coal.

“Renewable energy must be the core part of the energy mix as it has the potential to alleviate poverty. We need to put in the right investment in it. It will create jobs and allow small businesses to participate in the sector,” he said.

He said the country and other African countries endowed with mineral resources should start looking at establishing an enabling environment for investments and growth in the sector.

Ayuk said the political change in South Africa gave hope that there would be a re-focus on the energy sector and that “homegrown” solutions for energy problems would be found.

“We have to be futuristic. It doesn’t help any country to have big projects and the skills cannot be found within it because jobs are not created or if they are they are low skilled jobs”, Ajuk said.

He also advocated better management of mineral resources throughout the continent and better frameworks to “empower communities”.

“Africa needs to start thinking of sharing skills and expertise to create intra-trade. We have the technology in most of the countries, we need to enhance what we already have.”

February 12, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s nuclear decommissioning dilemma

Why decommissioning South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant won’t be easy The Conversation,  Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg, January 26, 2018 

Africa’s only operational nuclear power plant is in an area called Koeberg, outside Cape Town in South Africa. The life span of the plant was originally meant to end in 2024. But after an upgrade it’s now expected to operate until around 2044.

In theory it could be shut down, or decommissioned, earlier than if, for example, there was a spike in anti-nuclear sentiment, it becomes unprofitable or a serious technical failure developed……

The funding for decommissioning, which is an expensive process, needs to be secured well in advance. Failing to decommission the site properly would saddle Cape Town with a dangerous radiation hazard for generations to come.

Responsibility for Koeberg’s site rehabilitation rests with its operator, the state electricity utility, Eskom. For now decommissioning Koeberg is not a priority for Eskom’s newly appointed board given its need to deal with the financial pressure and allegations of corruption the utility is facing.

But it will nevertheless need to start planning soon……….

All nuclear power plants accredited by the International Atomic Energy Agency must regularly set aside funds to finance the eventual decommissioning. By 2016, Eskom had paid R10.9 billion into a trust for this purpose.

But these provisions seem insufficient and the utility will probably need to raise additional funding to shut down Koeberg.

Eskom is responsible to pay for the site’s rehabilitation, but not for final waste disposal. The funding of that process ultimately becomes the responsibility of the state.

Waste from Koeberg

The arrangement is that low and intermediate-level nuclear waste is transported to a site called Vaalputs in sparsely populated Namakwaland, about 500 km north of Cape Town. High-level waste is kept on site in Koeberg in what are known as fuel pools.

South Africa doesn’t have storage facilities for its high-level waste. Like the rest of the world, construction of nuclear plants was initiated without a specific waste disposal plan, with the understanding that each country would manage and pay for it themselves.

Unfortunately South Africa is likely to approach decommissioning Koeberg in the same way other countries have done it – by effectively leaving the waste on site indefinitely in temporary storage facilities. This avoids the expense of waste processing as well as making difficult political decisions. But it passes the problem to future generations while continuing to expose the nuclear plant’s neighbourhood to contamination risk. This is a serious risk at Koeberg given that it’s a mere 30 km from the Cape Town city centre.

Koeberg’s decommissioning is an awkward reality that cannot be ignored for much longer. This should become the main focus for nuclear professionals in South Africa, rather than new plants. Eskom and other parties in the energy space need to develop detailed, credible decommissioning work plans with realistic costing scenarios and funding strategies. A crisis can be avoided, but only through early and proper planning. https://theconversation.com/why-decommissioning-south-africas-koeberg-nuclear-plant-wont-be-easy-89888

February 10, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, South Africa | Leave a comment