Why Nuclear? Give me one good reason!
By Zanele Majebe
‘’Nuclear should not be embraced’’. Those are the exact words of a SAFCEI ambassador and former Executive Director of Greenpeace International Kumi Naidoo, at an anti-nukes breakfast event opened by the Green Bishop, Geoff Davies. After painting a scary picture about the dangers of a nuclear energy, I could not help but wonder whether the vast majority of South Africans understood the dangers of a nuclear power plant, or wondered why the government was turning a blind eye to alternative energy solutions? As well as the costs?
It may seem to have advantages that are far ahead of fossil fuels but who can ignore the disaster of the shocking Fukushima Nuclear Accidents? Have we forgotten about what happen in Nagasaki Hiroshima?
While many new technologies have been put in place to make sure that disasters such as Chernobyl or more recently Fukushima won’t happen again the risks associated with them are relatively high. Even small radiation leaks can cause devastating effects. Some of the symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and fatigue. People who work at nuclear power plants and live near those areas are at high risk of facing nuclear radiations.
What about the Costs and affordability?
Cost estimates for new nuclear plant construction between 2002 and 2008 rose from between $2 billion and $4 billion per unit to $9 billion per unit, according to a 2009 UCS report, while experience with new construction in Europe has seen costs continue to soar
Another practical disadvantage of using nuclear energy is that it needs a lot of investment to set up a nuclear power station. It is not always possible for developing countries to afford such a costly source of alternative energy. Nuclear power plants normally take 5-10 years to construct as there are several legal formalities to be completed and mostly it is opposed by the people who live nearby
According to Des Muller, head of Johannesburg-based building company Group Five Ltd.’s nuclear construction division, the new reactors could cost as much as $100 billion over 15 years. That’s more than five times what Eskom is spending on two coal-fired plants that will generate a similar amount of power.
Alternative Energy Solutions
Shouldn’t we consider successful sustainable renewable alternative energy solutions such as Solar Power, Wind Power? Perhaps the government should drive national and foreign investment into South African renewable energy companies to save itself from economic meltdown.
Gondwana Alive supports green initiatives such as alternative energy solutions that contribute towards saving our planet and making it a better place for the future generations. Follow GA’s blogs as we review alternative energy solutions that are working all over the world.