Four issues of concern over nuclear energy

Cape Town – Fin24 user Dion Wilmans says some points made by Dr Kelvin Kemm about nuclear energy appear to be “well-orchestrated propaganda without the disclosure of the long-term impacts”.

READ: Fin24 readers speak out against nuclear energy

READ: Nuclear adviser responds to his critics

Wilmans, who is involved in the successful independent power producer programme run by the Department of Energy, made the following points:

1. Skills

Yes, South Africa had vast skills in nuclear (the pebble bed reactors developed in SA being a prime example), but it has lost those skills to foreign utilities and independent consulting firms. The IDC chose to terminate the programme.

2. Waste

A simple look around Koeburg nuclear power plant will illustrate the indisposibility of high-level nuclear waste that awaits removal. This problem, which lasts 10 000 years, still hasn't found a home! Some low level of waste is disposed of in the Northern Cape, which is simply buried. Carte Blance ran a programme on this a few years ago.

3. Power transmission

As mentioned in the article, there are losses associated with long-distance transmission of power. How does this differ from the current situation? Port Elizabeth does not utilise vast amounts of power, so the same would apply. The electrical infrastructure was built to accommodate smelters, which never materialised.

4. Better than coal

Admittedly, nuclear is the lessor of two evils (coal being number one), yet the execution and maintenance requires a far greater degree of care and sophistication. I hope that due consideration is given to the final provider of the proposed solution, without which we definitely face an uncertain energy future.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on Fin24 have been independently written by members of the Fin24 community. The views of users published on Fin24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent those of Fin24.



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