Friday, September 26, 2014

South Africa nuclear plans 'huge risk'. (Greenpeace)

JOHANNESBURG. -(By Hassan Isilow.) -South Africa's plans to invest in nuclear energy are likely to put the country at risk due to the huge costs involved and the potential health risks, an international environmental group has warned.
"As far as Greenpeace Africa is concerned, investing in new nuclear energy is actually going to put this country at risk," Melita Steele, senior climate and energy campaign manager for Greenpeace Africa, told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
On Monday, Russia and South Africa signed an agreement for the construction of new nuclear power plants as part of South Africa's procurement and development program.
The deal, signed in Vienna on the sidelines of an International Atomic Energy Agency conference, calls for the construction by Russia's state-owned nuclear company Rosatom of eight nuclear power units in South Africa.

Rosatom put the estimated cost of the project at between $40 billion and $50 billion.
Steele said that apart from the huge cost of building nuclear plants, there were no long term solutions for nuclear waste.
She cited Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, when nearly 120,000 people were evacuated from their homes – and still have yet to return – following a nuclear plant meltdown.
"As far as Greenpeace is concerned, investing in both coal and nuclear [energy] are nothing more than a dead end," said Steele.
"It [nuclear energy] will send this country into both electricity price crisis as well as electricity supply crisis," she insisted.
Greenpeace is an influential global advocacy group ostensibly devoted to protecting the environment.

-Renewable energy-
Steele urged the South African government to instead focus on renewable energy, such as solar and wind power.
"We think that, as far as the research we've done, South Africa has some of the best solar resources in the world," she told AA.
Steele saw no reason why South Africa should not become a climate leader.
South Africa currently generates almost 90 percent of its electricity from coal-fueled power stations.
Environmental groups say the use of coal has negative effects on human health and the ecosystem.

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