Greenpeace urges no nuclear power

2012-07-06 14:00

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.


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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  • npretorius2 - 2012-07-06 14:25

    Greenpeace are a bunch of tree hugging terrorists. They should focus on industrialized countries that pollute up to 100 times more than us. South Africa is a developing country and at the moment we need access to cheap energy. It is not feasible for us to create giant wind farms and solar plants at the moment.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-06 15:15

      They are! The guy who founded them in the 70's left and now fights against them, because of their skewed views, fact-less accusations and threats of violence. They are a bunch of bored people, who maybe have good intentions, but concentrate on all the wrong things. Nuclear energy is the only way to ensure sustainable growth.

      richard.fahrenfort - 2012-07-06 15:40

      It is viable npretoruis2 and Kyle, Its very very viable. And also, theres MASSIVE amounts of pollution from the coal plants and tons of very toxic nuclear waste from the nuclear plants. The problem here is 'Eksdom' aka Eskom. They are stuck in the dark ages and have a profiteering government and legislation that puts them as both ref and player in the field to content with. So they have no choice BUT to be stuck in the dark ages. We can blanket the northern cape and parts of the free state in solar panels and wind farms no problem.No one owns that land yet. The sun and wind are free and require zero initial energy input for power generation unlike coal and nuclear. The sun and wind are also sustainable and free. There's also another 'nuclear' route we can follow via Thorium. All the benefits of nuclear energy without the toxic waste and at a fraction of the cost. see here: that infographic is large so give it some time to load.

      Press - 2012-07-06 15:55

      "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". Above will be the wording of the findings of the next commission of inquiry after the next nuclear disaster. Idiots

  • Warren - 2012-07-06 14:57

    Agreed Npretorious2! they also don't provide reasonable solutions: we have decades worth of coal, a fuel that is far more damaging to man and Earth, yet they concentrate their efforts on Nuclear. perhaps it is bad reporting but i never hear of them helping communities by building better solutions to problems, they instead protest. part of the solution?

  • ACvanNiekerk - 2012-07-06 15:05

    Will the Greenpeace members please make up their minds! So we are not supposed to use coal or gas as it pollutes. Now its don't use nuclear because it mutates and kills. Seeing that we don't have fusion reactors what do they want us to use to create power? Should we all revert to chopping down trees and burning them? Where do the tree-hugging Greenpeace get their power from? Do they live in the dark without a stove a fridge? Good questions, all of them. Unfortunately with the amount of people on this planet we need power - lots of it. There will be side effects of this hunger for power. The only way to avoid it is to go back to the pre-industrialized age which is not going to happen. So basically we can't live with it and we can't live without it. What can you do?

      Press - 2012-07-06 15:57

      AC van Niekerk - You certainly have strong opinions for someone who seems to know nothing about the renewables discourse.

  • kathleen.whiteley.7 - 2012-07-06 15:10

    If you want a world revolution by all means return to mediaeval strip farming. The Minister of energy has my support

      Press - 2012-07-06 16:00

      Kathleen.Whitely - you really should read a bit wider . . . Being stupid is one thing, being unaware is addressable - your choice . . .

  • colin.megson - 2012-07-06 21:42

    It doesn't matter if Greenpeace members hate nuclear power today, because their children or grandchildren will witness nations grabbing for the last vestiges of unaffordable hydrocarbons and threatening world order, peace and stability. As the lights start to sputter, the shout will go up for inherently safe breeder reactors to be deployed worldwide. By then, the accelerating energy demands and increasing economic power of the (now) developing world, will ensure they get their share - even at the expense of forcing a decline in living standards of those in the (now) developed world. The simple answer to avoid conflict and meet the future emissions-free energy needs of the UK and every nation on Earth, is the widespread deployment of breeder reactors. The arithmetic is simple; the sums add up; the fuel is available until the end of time; no other energy technology is capable of completely replacing hydrocarbons. Google lftrs + "breeder reactors" to see if you can get behind this technology.

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