Nuclear ‘no climate change solution’

2011-08-04 13:32

The government should invest in renewable energy and debunk claims that nuclear power is part of a solution to climate change, environmental lobby group Greenpeace said today.

“Nuclear power is a dangerous energy option that would lock the country into an outdated, expensive and deadly energy future,” it said in a statement.

“It is a dangerous distraction from the clean energy development needed to prevent catastrophic climate change.”

The statement was issued ahead of Sunday’s deadline for comments on the environmental impact assessment study on the proposed Nuclear-1 power station.

The due date for submissions was extended following calls from environmental groups and civil society.

These organisations had argued that “substantial” greenhouse gas emissions were generated across the nuclear fuel cycle.

A few months ago, Thyspunt in Eastern Cape was announced as the preferred site for Eskom’s second nuclear power station.

It was one of the richest of several well-preserved archaeological areas in the country.

Other sites identified were Duynefontein (Koeberg), north of Cape Town and Bantamsklip, east of Danger Point.

According to Eskom, the proposal for building the plant was due to the country’s increasing electricity demand.

The utility had estimated that more than 40 000 megawatts of new electricity-generating capacity would be needed over the next 20 years.

It was therefore investigating the feasibility of generating half of this demand through nuclear power.

Greenpeace urged energy Minister Dipuo Peters to reconsider the role of nuclear energy in the country and to impose a moratorium on any new nuclear reactors, at least until the safety implications of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan had been studied.

“With the political will and South Africa’s abundance of renewable energy resources, the country could and should become a renewable energy leader in Africa. Our country should opt for clean energy and energy efficiency.”

The group also spoke of the need to reduce the country’s dependency on coal, adding that the electricity sector needed to be a pioneers in the use of renewable energy. 

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