Earthlife to protest Eskom nuclear deal

2014-07-15 08:25

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Cape Town – Earthlife Africa will protest outside the Eskom offices in Braamfontein Johannesburg on Tuesday.

According to Earthlife, the protest will take place from 10:00 to 13:00.

Earthlife is protesting the “signals” or messages being sent from government to Eskom about a Russian nuclear deal.

The deal will apparently involve Russian company Rosatom. The project, according to Earthlife, has been “fast tracked” even though the energy utility is in financial trouble.

Earthlife said that one of the main issues they need Eskom to address is the R225bn funding gap that the company is unable to reconcile.

Furthermore the mismanagement, at the Medupi and Kusile coal fire power stations needs to be addressed.

It estimated that this new nuclear deal with Rosatom could cost as much as R1 trillion, a cost that will probably be incurred by ordinary South Africans.

Lerato Maragele, outreach and education officer at Earthlife, said that the main aim of the protest is too draw awareness and public attention at the major costs and risks associated with nuclear energy.

Eskom, last week reported a net profit of R7.1bn in the first quarter, up from R5.2bn the previous year.

According to Eskom the profit will be reinvested in the company in order to generate support for a number of their expansion programmes.

Pollution

A new study by groundWork this month revealed that while many South Africans benefit from Eskom’s electricity, people in the Highveld are facing growing health issues and effectively are carrying the burden of Eskom’s pollution.

In 2007 the Highveld was confirmed as a High Priority Area because of high levels of pollution in the air.

The Highveld is home to 12 of Eskom’s coal power stations.

GroundWork argued that 51% of the deaths that occur due to respiratory illness and 54% of deaths from cardiovascular disease are a direct result from pollution in the air

According to the organisation, Eskom is the main contributor of ambient air pollution and related illness in the Highveld area.

Professor Rajen Naidoo, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said that pollution resulting from coal production does not only induce respiratory diseases but can contribute to cardiovascular problems and long term cancers.
Read more on:    earthlife africa  |  eskom  |  johannesburg  |  pollution  |  green protests  |  nuclear energy

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