SDCEA mobilises anti-nuclear community unity with petition http://southlandssun.co.za/71218/sdcea-mobilises-anti-nuclear-community-unity-petition/ Local activists call for action. Erin Hanekom 22 Mar 17 COMMUNITY meetings have called for South Durbanites to take action against nuclear energy and for a referendum to decide the future of nuclear energy in the country.
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) hosted energy meetings at ML Sultan St Marys Primary School on 2 March and the Austerville community hall on 6 March to educate and mobilise community on the proposed nuclear energy build.
“Citizens need to understand they have the power to refuse or accept the nuclear energy fleet proposed to be built in South Africa. Sustainable energy should be the main focus in this country not unsustainable and dangerous energy,” said a statement from SDCEA.
Among SDCEA co-ordinator, Desmond D’Sa’s topics of discussion was the importance of community unity against what he termed as unsustainable developments.
“This community has a history of environmental activism that has previously brought successful results. The communities of South Durban need to unite against this nuclear build as the proposal is to develop a fleet of these facilities along the South African coastline which will pose an enormous danger to people and marine life,” said D’Sa.
Economist in development studies, Dr Gerard Boyce spoke about the financial and environmental aspects of the nuclear deal.
The use of a referendum was discussed, calling for government to set up a public vote on the matter, leaving the decision in the hands of the people.
“The referendum will benefit citizens by putting people back at the centre of politics, create greater openness and transparency in nuclear dealings. It will ensure increase current levels of public participation and foster a
culture of participatory democracy. To sum up, it will be a creation of an active and engaged citizenry,” said Dr Gerard Boyce.
SDCEA environmental project officer, Noluthando Mbeje galvanised people into being part of SDCEA’s nuclear energy campaign, which has been waged for years and has included protests, community meetings and discussions with experts in the field, including Russian environmentalist, Vladimir Slivyak.
Outcomes of the meeting include the decision to garner at least 15,000 signatures on an anti-nuclear petition; research to be conducted on cancer statistics in South Durban; getting the youth involved; renewable energy programmes;education and meetings with municipal and national officials.
Petitions can be collected at the SDCEA offices and on social media.
Russia eyes deal to build Kenya’s sole nuclear plant, The Star, Kenya Mar. 14, 2017, By WEITERE MWITA @mwitamartin Russia has offered to design, finance and build Kenya’s proposed nuclear power plant.
Kenya is on a delicate journey that will see it switch on its first nuclear power plant by 2027. The country plans to put up four nuclear plants in the long term, each generating 1,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Initial estimates show it will cost between Sh400 billion and Sh500 billion to put up one nuclear reactor. This means one plant will cost slightly more than building the 609-kilometre Mombasa to Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). By the time the plan is complete, the country will have spent about Sh2 trillion – just under the national Budget for a year – to reap the benefits of an additional 4,000MW of energy plugged into the national grid.
Besides the financing headache, the second test for the 10-year dream being championed by the Kenya Nuclear Energy Board (KNEB) is coming up with a location to for the reactors. The board estimates site selection will cost the country Sh1.5 billion in a three-year process. Though the potential sites have remained a closely guarded secret, the power plant will be built next to any of the four biggest water bodies in the country – that is, the Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria, River Tana and Lake Turkana.
SA heads for financial armageddon, Fin 24 2017-02-26 06:02 – Justin Brown State finances face stormy times as the private sector braces itself for a possible switch in finance ministers amid spluttering tax collections, low growth, tax hikes and deep suspicion regarding the nuclear build.
LOOKING FOR MR. NUCLEAR, The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism , 28 Feb 17 Senti Thobejane, President Jacob Zuma’s former point man on South Africa’s proposed R1 trillion nuclear deal, appears to have gone to ground since his sudden departure as energy adviser in late 2015.
Back then he was riding high.
He was not only advisor to Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson, but had outlasted her two predecessors, Dipuo Peters and Ben Martins, reportedly because of his status as Zuma’s personal go-to-guy on the nuclear project.
- Watch the video explainer here
One senior Department Of Energy (DoE) official told amaBhungane that he was known in the Department of Energy as “Mr Nuclear”.
Then, on September 15, 2015, Business Day reported that Thobejane had been fired. There was never any explanation or comment from Joemat-Pettersson or the DoE; he simply dropped out of sight.
Not long afterwards, amaBhungane received a tipoff from a highly placed source who had worked with Thobejane at the DoE.
According to the source, Thobejane had been fired after his behaviour in the murky discussions around a nuclear deal had riled senior officials, including the president.
The claim was potentially defamatory and based on insider gossip that was almost impossible to verify.
It went something like this:
Thobejane had travelled to Russia at the same time as Zuma’s mysterious “medical visit” in August 2014.
During that trip an understanding was reached with unidentified Russians which, claimed the source, included the payment of some kind of commission……….http://amabhungane.co.za/article/2017-02-22-exclusive-looking-for-mr-nuclear.
Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) reviewing s afety regulatgions to “accomodate” nuclear power industry
FG’s guidance on licensing process for nuclear power plants set – D-G NNRA , Vanguard, FEBRUARY 28, 2017 Abuja – The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) said it was reviewing the Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards (NSSS) Bill regulations to accommodate the operation of Nuclear Power Programme (NPP) in the country. Prof. Lawrence Dim, the Director-General of the authority said this on Tuesday in an interview in Abuja.
Indebtedness, a stumbling block to Nigeria’s nuclear sector progress- NNRA DG http://tribuneonlineng.com/indebtedness-stumbling-block-nigerias-nuclear-sector-progress-nnra-dg/ THE Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure the payment of its indebtedness to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), lamenting that the debt has been a stumbling block to the progress of nuclear sector in Nigeria.
The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer (DG/CEO) of the authority, Professor Lawrence Dim, who made this appeal in a signed statement made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja, on Sunday, further urged the government to ensure that Nigeria paid up all her access contribution fees to the IAEA to enable the NNRA made meaningful contributions in the society.
He also implored the government to improve the funding of the NNRA, as nuclear power programme required long term commitment, pointing out that the authority has lived up to its mandate by continuously ensuring the protection of life, health, as well as property and the environment.
Professor Dim observed that there was the need for the institutionalisation of the Nuclear Safety Security and Safeguards Bill through an act of the National Assembly in order to domesticate the nation’s international obligations.
The DG, who admitted that there was inadequate information on the beneficial uses of ionizing radiation, said these were parts of recommendations after the 4th National Workshop organised by the NNRA in Abuja for Editors and Correspondents.
According to him, government at all levels should ensure that all facilities that ought to be under regulatory control of the NNRA are indeed regulated by the NNRA. Not all the facilities that should be under regulatory control of the NNRA are indeed regulated by the Authority.
“There is generally a low level of awareness with respect to the nuclear sector. The Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards Document (Bill) is yet to be passed into law by the National Assembly. There should be more information dissemination on the nuclear sector in order to enlighten the public.
“Government should embark on an intensive manpower development to achieve the critical mass of professionals for the development of the nuclear sector. The NNRA should collaborate with the relevant agencies on grassroots sensitization”, he added.
Other Management Staff present at the workshop included Director, Radiological Safety, Professor T. C. Akpa; Director, Authorization and Enforcement, Dr. Yau Idris; as well as Deputy Director, Nuclear Safety, Physical Security and Safeguards , Dr. Nasiru Bello and the Head of Information and Protocol Unit, Mrs. Ekaette Ebong Bassey.
Nuclear Deal: Case to stop SA from bankrupting itself begins https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-02-22-nuclear-deal-case-to-stop-sa-from-bankrupting-itself-begins/#.WK9qo9KGPGg REBECCA DAVIS SOUTH AFRICA 22 FEB 2017
“No nukes, no bankrupting SA, no enriching Zuma and Co,” read one sign. “Nuclear costs SA equivalent of 1.2-billion buses!” proclaimed another. On a day when South Africa’s economy was already in the spotlight, the small crowd assembled outside the Western Cape High Court had one particular aspect of its future in mind. “Phantsi secret nuclear deal phantsi!” the protesters chanted.
In the legal ring: two NGOs, Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), squaring up against Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s pursuit of 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power. One media outlet referred to it as a “David vs Goliath battle”. That’s accurate in the sense that the two NGOs behind the legal battle are modestly resourced. But when David took on Goliath, he didn’t have one of the most lethal advocates in the country leading his legal team.
Acting for the NGOs is David Unterhalter, who has appeared in countless of South Africa’s most high-profile legal matters – including representing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Marikana Commission. In this case, David is armed and dangerous.
The court challenge will not deal with the question of whether or not nuclear power is the right energy source to meet the country’s needs. Opening the arguments for the applicants on Wednesday, Unterhalter said that his team would show that the inter-governmental nuclear agreement with Russia “fails to comply with what is required constitutionally”.
While the government contends that this kind of international agreement is an instance of “executive action”, and thus beyond the purview of review, the applicants maintain that it is “a fairly straightforward case of administrative action” which should have gone before Parliament for resolution. While the Russian agreement was tabled in Parliament, it was not subject to a debate and a resolution of Parliament, despite the state law adviser’s counsel to Minister Joemat-Pettersson that this was required.
Lawyer Adrian Pole subsequently told journalists that they will also argue that the public should have been granted more of a voice in discussions about South Africa’s energy future.
This point was emphasised by the protesters outside court. Criticising the government for making use of “flawed” processes and failing to carry out public hearings, Earthlife Africa’s Makoma Lekalakala described the nuclear process as “shrouded in secrecy”.
Lekalakala said: “This case was filed in the public interest to hold those in government accountable and prevent secret deals leading to corruption.” She also hit out at the possible environmental damage of a large-scale nuclear programme. South Africa is currently dependent on a fossil fuel economy, Lekalakala said. “With nuclear it becomes much worse – it’s not just a question of pollution, but also of [how to dispose of nuclear] waste.”
South Korean activist Kim Yong-Bock was outside court on Wednesday in solidarity with South African protesters – and bearing an urgent message focusing on nuclear safety. Kim said that the local court case was similar to the ongoing debate in Japan about the constitutionality of nuclear plants.
“The security of life in your country is supposed to be protected by your Constitution,” Kim said, warning that after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, wrangling continues as to the liability of the Tokyo Electric Power Company. To the nuclear industry, Kim suggested, “it doesn’t really matter if you die or not”.
Looking around at the South Africans gathered outside the court, Kim said: “You are potential victims.”
The issue of the prohibitive cost of the nuclear build was also prominent among the protesters’ concerns. “There are many ways of providing the electricity we need now and in the future without spending R1-trillion or more,” SACSEI’s Ven Tsondru said. Both sun and wind, she suggested, could generate electricity quicker and cheaper than nuclear energy.
Tsondru explained that the court case’s major function was to force government to share both the reasoning behind, and financial details of, the nuclear deal.
The legal proceedings have already forced the government’s hand in revealing certain aspects of the previously secretive nuclear deal. The original court application was filed in October 2015. From papers revealed to the applicants in 2016, the NGOs said that it appeared that despite denials from the governments of both Russia and South Africa, a binding commitment to buy a fleet of nuclear reactors from Russia had already been signed.
On Wednesday morning, protesters were keeping one eye on Parliament, where Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was due to deliver his Budget speech that afternoon. Ears would be pricked for reference to the nuclear deal, which President Jacob Zuma did not mention in his State of the Nation Address a fortnight ago.
Earthlife Africa’s Lekalakala told the small crowd outside the Western Cape High Court that they expected the Finance Minister to announce in the Budget that afternoon that “we cannot go ahead with nuclear now”. If he were to give endorsement to the nuclear deal, she said, he would be “undermining you and me”.
As it turned out, Minister Gordhan’s Budget did not mention the nuclear deal at all – unless you count a veiled reference to protecting future generations from today’s debt.
To SAFCEI’S Liz McDaid, this was a positive sign.
“We applaud the Minister of Finance for acting in the public interest and not wasting money on the nuclear deal,” McDaid told the Daily Maverick. “We will continue to monitor government with respect to the nuclear deal. If we are successful with our court case, the decision to procure nuclear will be overturned.”
Why Gordhan’s silence on nuclear was golden’ The Minister effectively signaled that there is no need to react to exaggerated energy crisis talk coming from the pro-nuclear lobby’ Business Day, 24 FEBRUARY 2017 – 08:50 AM HARTMUT WINKLER South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan said very little about the energy sector in his recent budget speech. The word “energy” came up only once compared with 2016, when it was used five times. Even more notable is that he didn’t mention nuclear energy – a source of major contention – at all.
The explicit statements relating to energy were restricted to an increase in the fuel levy and affirmation that the independent power producer programme would continue with the development of further renewable and gas power generation.
This avoidance might at first glance seem odd given the heated controversies around power shortages as well as the government’s plans to invest in unaffordable nuclear power plants.
But there’s a great deal to take heart from. By downplaying the energy sector in his speech, the Minister effectively signaled that there is no need to react to exaggerated energy crisis talk coming from the pro-nuclear lobby. Instead, he is showing faith in the existing modest medium term energy budget, and an unwillingness to be diverted onto a reckless financial course…….
The significance of the Minister’s silence
Gordhan’s budget signalled that he is intent on standing firm against any political pressure by refusing to significantly deviate from the National Treasury’s long term expenditure plan.
Contrary to what his detractors would have hoped for, he did not make appreciably higher allocations to the nuclear sector. Instead he:
– Committed to the continuation of the independent power producer driven renewable energy programme. This has been opposed by the pro-nuclear Eskom;…….
Gordhan went on to say: “By acting now to stabilise debt … future generations will not pay … 20 or 30 years from now.”
This affirms the frequently stated view that the decision to embark on a massive nuclear build could only be financed through astronomical loans that will severely burden the nation for decades.
Gordhan has stood firm. But one question remains: will his stand lead to his dismissal and replacement with a stooge leading inevitably to a crash of the country’s currency, open warfare inside the ruling party and public protest? https://www.businesslive.co.za/rdm/politics/2017-02-24-why-gordhans-silence-on-nuclear-was-golden/
Antinuclear lobby groups say government’s secrecy is embarrassing
Two groups are asking the high court to declare the alleged nuclear deal with Russia‚ signed by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson‚ unlawful, Business Live 22 FEBRUARY 2017 The court battle between lobby groups and the government over the alleged R1-trillion proposed nuclear deal with Russia — ostensibly the biggest procurement by the government to date — resumed in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei) have taken the Department of Energy to court for procuring this arrangement under a veil of secrecy.
They have asked the court to declare the deal‚ signed by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson‚ unlawful and unconstitutional.
Spokesperson for Earthlife Makoma Lekalakala said it was “embarrassing” that they had to turn to the courts because the government refused to divulge details of the deal, which was of great public interest.
“We wondered why the government wanted to build nuclear plants especially after what happened in Hiroshima. Nuclear is also very costly so this deal is on the brink of bankrupting the country‚” Lekalakala said…… Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan made no mention of the deal in his budget speech.https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2017-02-22-antinuclear-lobby-groups-say-governments-secrecy-is-embarrassing/
The archbishop said in a statement issued from the church’s Synod of Bishops Feb. 22 coming at a time that faith and environmental groups are issuing a court challenge to a secret nuclear deal the government has struck up with Russia.
“The Synod of Bishops has revisited the resolution adopted by the church’s Provincial Synod last September, in which the church expressed its opposition to the expansion of nuclear energy and urged the government to pursue the path of renewable energy initiatives……
“We are deeply concerned that an expanded nuclear energy program will become an albatross around the necks of our children. And we cannot leave to the generations to come the task of disposing of our nuclear waste.”
Makgoba said the bishops believe South Africa has the potential of becoming a renewable energy hub for Africa, with huge potential for investment in manufacturing and associated employment.
“We note that overseas investors are queuing up to invest in our renewable energy program and since the design of the program is such that they provide the finance, this does not burden our people.”
ENVIRONMENT JUSTICE GROUPS
Environmental justice groups have renewed a challenge to the government’s planned expansion of nuclear energy in a court hearing in currently Cape Town.
In November the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute said a closed meeting on a nuclear build plan reinforces the perception that government has something to hide……http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/s-african-archbishop-says-government-should-scrap-nuclear-power-expand-renewable-energy-sources/59172.htm
Calls to scrap nuclear deal during #SONA2017, SONA / 9 February 2017, SAMKELO MTSHALI, Durban – Civil society organisations and other critics of government’s proposed multibillion-rand nuclear plan called on President Jacob Zuma to scrap it during his State of the Nation address tonight.
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) picketed outside City Hall on Wednesday and handed over a memorandum to the eThekwini Municipality, detailing their opposition to the nuclear plan.
Today in Cape Town the Right2Know Campaign is expected to add its voice to growing criticism of plans to build nuclear power stations in South Africa. Desmond D’Sa, SDCEA chairperson, said the deal had been shrouded in secrecy and accused the government of not consulting with communities.
“Ultimately it’s the poor and working class of this country who will have added pressure to pay for these nuclear power stations that cost so much money. “This money should instead be used for better access to healthcare facilities, education and other basic necessities,” D’Sa said.
He pointed out that a single nuclear powered plant would take close to a decade to build. With government planning on building six to eight, it would take about 30 to 40 years before all were completed. “If you take half the money of the nuclear deal, R500billion, and invest it in setting up companies in renewable energy projects , you could create over a million jobs ,” said D’Sa.
He said setting up these companies in townships such as uMlazi, KwaMashu, Soweto, Alexandra, Gugulethu and Langa would go a long way in addressing the high rate of unemployment, which stands at 26.6%.
He said this was the route countries like India, the US and China had followed.
“Nuclear energy is harmful……..
Carina Conradie, of the Right2Know Campaign, said they were concerned about the affordability of the nuclear deal because nuclear energy was one of the most expensive forms of energy. “Wind and solar energy are much better and cost-effective alternatives to nuclear energy,” she said.
Questioning the legitimacy of the deal, Conradie said: “There have been reports of secret deals with Russia and even the procurement process was not above board; it was shrouded in secrecy.”
She said they had strategically planned their demonstrations around Sona 2017 because it was important the issue remained at the forefront of the public’s thoughts and on the tip of their tongues.
This would ensure there was growing opposition to the deal by educating people on its perils…….http://www.iol.co.za/news/special-features/sona/calls-to-scrap-nuclear-deal-during-sona2017-7681658
France joins suitors for Kenya’s nuclear plant venture, Business Daily Africa, NEVILLE OTUKI, email@example.com February 7 2017 IN SUMMARY French Economy and Finance minister Michel Sapin said the nuclear-rich European country was looking to offer Kenya technical, engineering and financial support to develop reactors.
Kenya plans to start building its first nuclear plant from 2022 in a five-year period at a cost of about Sh500 billion
China, Russia, South Korea and Slovakia have since inked various pacts with Kenya in manpower development and skills exchange as they eye a possible deal.
France has joined the list of countries courting Kenya for a multi-billion-dollar deal to build East Africa’s first nuclear power plant.
French Economy and Finance minister Michel Sapin said the nuclear-rich European country was looking to offer Kenya technical, engineering and financial support to develop reactors.
Kenya plans to start building its first nuclear plant from 2022 in a five-year period at a cost of about Sh500 billion.
China, Russia, South Korea and Slovakia have since inked various pacts with Kenya in manpower development and skills exchange as they eye a possible deal.
“We have expressed our readiness to support the construction of the plants. Our support involves everything from expertise to funding,” Mr Sapin said on Sunday after concluding his two-day visit to Kenya during which he presided over the return of Peugeot assembly to Kenya…….
Mr Sapin said that France was seeking pacts with Nairobi like the ones it entered with South Africa on nuclear power development.
France has over the years signed several pacts with South Africa whose two power plants were built by French firm Areva.
South Africa plans to add more nuclear power plants.
Energy experts from Italy and Germany last October, however, advised Kenya to drop plans to build nuclear reactors and instead harness its vast renewable energy resources for power generation. The experts, attending a renewable energy conference in Nairobi, reckoned that Kenya is better off developing more geothermal wells, solar parks and wind farms.
They cited massive costs for a nuke plant, long construction periods of about 10 years and expensive decommissioning of plants at the end of their lifespan, especially disposing of hazardous radioactive waste.
Italy shut down its last nuke plant in 1990 and the people voted against the atomic technology in a 2011 referendum. Germany plans to pull nuclear plants off its power grid by 2022 in favour of green energy. http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/France-joins-suitors-for-Kenya-s-nuclear-plant-venture/539546-3802926-item-1-119w5bk/index.html
Strong response on Nuclear – Eskom , AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY 1 February 2017 Johannesburg – Eskom said on Wednesday that it was receiving positive response from the market to the Request for Information (RFI) issued in relation to the proposed South African Nuclear New Build Programme.
Russia’s Rosatom submits bid for South African nuclear project – TASS, Reuters Jan 24 Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom has submitted a bid for a nuclear power project in South Africa, TASS news agency cited the company’s General Director Alexei Likhachev as saying on Tuesday.
Rosatom had been considered the leading candidate for a tender to build 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity in South Africa by 2030, but South African nuclear state agency Necsa said last year it was no longer “the frontrunner”. (Reporting by Alexander Winning; Writing by Jack Stubbs) http://www.reuters.com/article/russia-safrica-nuclear-idUSR4N1F7023
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