Greenpeace urges no nuclear power

2012-07-06 14:00
Greenpeace has repeated its warning on nuclear power following the release of the Japanese parliamentary panel finding into the Fukushima disaster. (AP)

Greenpeace has repeated its warning on nuclear power following the release of the Japanese parliamentary panel finding into the Fukushima disaster. (AP)

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Cape Town - Environmental group Greenpeace has repeated its warning on nuclear power following the release of the Japanese parliamentary panel finding into the Fukushima disaster.

The panel found that the disaster that saw radioactive water leaking into the area was the result of a "profoundly man-made disaster" that "could and should have been foreseen and prevented".

"The findings of this latest investigation into Fukushima confirm the arguments Greenpeace continues to make, that human error was at the centre of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, and that there are similar risks in South Africa," Greenpeace told News24.

The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011 saw meltdowns and radioactive material being leaked when backup cooling systems failed.

Japan shut down nuclear power stations and evacuated residents living in a 20km radius from the plant, but public heartbreak turned to anger when details of corruption of Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) officials emerged.

Safety records

The company had admitted in 2002 that it had falsified safety records at the Fukushima Daiichi plant No 1 reactor.

In 2011 the government release a report that showed Tepco was aware that the plant could be hit by a tsunami with waves higher than the 5.7m which the plant was designed to withstand.

The 10-member expert panel that led the six-month probe said the accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepco.

"The reality is that nuclear energy is never safe, is incredibly expensive, and will always remain vulnerable to the deadly combination of human error, design failures, and natural disasters," Greenpeace said.

In response to the Japanese disaster, the German government began a programme to mothball nuclear reactors in that country and switch to renewable energy.

In May, Germany set a new record with 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour produced by its solar plants. This is equal to the production of 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity.

Objections

The South African government through state-owned entity Eskom is under pressure to secure electricity supply which is under severe strain during winter, but plans are in place to commission both coal and nuclear power stations.

Minister of energy Dipuo Peters has publically supported the expansion of nuclear energy, despite objections from environmental groups.

"Minister [Dipuo] Peters' support to expand nuclear power in Africa is extremely irresponsible given the socio-economic challenges prevalent on the continent," Ferrial Adam anti nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace Africa told News24.


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Read more on:    greenpeace  |  environment  |  nuclear
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