ANC urged to ditch nuclear plans - TechCentral

ANC urged to ditch nuclear plans


Greenpeace has a message for the ANC ahead of its national general council (NGC) meeting starting on Friday: drop nuclear energy, or face massive resistance.

Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo said on Monday that the ANC should “take nuclear off the table”.

“The ANC needs to know that if it does go for the nuclear option as part of the [energy]mix, then they are on a collision course with the broader spectrum of the South African civil society,” he said.

“The faith organisations are mobilising and elements in the trade union federation are mobilising in the broader NGO spectrum.

“So the ANC can make that decision knowing full well that they will be blocked in the court,” he said. “There will be a robust campaign against any financial option. Any lending institution will come under tremendous pressure.”

Resolving the energy challenge is top of the priority list, said Jeff Radebe, chairman of the ANC NEC policy subcommittee, on the publication of its NGC discussion document in August.

The ANC expressed a need to discuss nuclear energy at the NGC to ensure it is only procured if all legal and affordability assessments have been completed successfully.

“Government must commit to a full, transparent and thorough cost-benefit analysis of nuclear power as part of the procurement process, and clarify the status of the update to the Integrated Resource Plan,” the document explains.

“Government must also announce publicly that nuclear energy can only be procured in line with the legal prescripts and after a thoroughgoing affordability assessment.”

However, Naidoo said South Africa should not be investing in nuclear at all, because it is “too expensive and too dangerous”.

“As a solution to our energy crisis, it will be delivered too little too late and will take 10 to 15 years to build one single plant.”

The energy department has signed agreements with several countries as part of its nuclear build programme to build 9,6GW of nuclear energy by 2030.

While studies reveal that many nuclear build programmes run into overtime and over budget, the ANC believes nuclear energy could unlock manufacturing opportunities and create reliable baseload energy.  — Fin24


  1. Asteroid Miner on

    Greenpeace will create delays to make building a nuclear power plant take as long as possible. It should take no more than 4 years. Nuclear is the only method we have that makes so little CO2 for so much electricity and does so all the time. With friends like Greenpeace, you don’t need enemies.

    Spent nuclear fuel is not a proliferation risk because a power plant makes the wrong isotopes of plutonium for bombs. To make a bomb, you need pure plutonium239 [Pu239].

    Isotopes: Any chemical element can come in several isotopes.

    To make Pu239, you have to shut down the reactor and do a fuel cycle after one month or less of operation. Since removing and replacing fuel takes a month, a short-cycled reactor operates half the time. A power plant that has a one month on, one month off fuel cycle would stick out a lot more than the proverbial sore thumb.

    A reactor used to make electricity runs for 18 months to 2 years between refuelings. An individual fuel rod will stay in the reactor for 3 cycles since only ⅓ of the fuel rods are exchanged at each fueling, so one fuel rod stays in the reactor 4.5 to 6 years. In that time, many trans-uranic elements are created. In that time, Pu239 absorbs extra neutrons, becoming Pu240, Pu241, Pu242, 95americium243, 96curium247, 97berkelium247, 98californium251, 99einsteinium25, 100fermium257 and so on. All of these higher actinides are good reactor fuel but useless for bomb making.

    7% Pu240 is enough to spoil a bomb and you get a lot more than 7% Pu240 from a reactor that has been running for 18 months. Separating Pu239 from those higher actinides is a technology that has not been developed. Nobody would try to do that separation because the easy way to make Pu239 is with a short cycle reactor. Governments that have plutonium bombs, have government owned government operated [GOGO] reactors that do nothing but make Pu239.

  2. Asteroid Miner on

    The ANC should classify Greenpeace as a terrorist organization and deal with it accordingly. Greenpeace doesn’t have anything useful or truthful to say.

  3. Andrew Fraser on

    Where did Greenpeace mention nuclear weapons? think their concerns around the “danger” of nuclear are related to reactor safety and waste disposal.

    I don’t have a horse in this race. I think that nuclear is a credible energy supply, but I wouldn’t trust government to procure me a beer.

  4. Mike Watkins on

    just imagine how many RDP households the regime could have made energy self sufficient, with that R600 Million wasted on the clown king’s Zulu kraal, on Nkandle,
    or with that R700 Billion; That has vanished from SA’s fiscus; Thanks to the ineptitude, and ignorance of the tripartheid regime, or for that matter, all the solar panels that could have been installed by the SACPYL, and the ANCYL:
    1)- while they were tossing buckets of poo, over statues;
    2)- protesting for tertiary institution name changes;
    3)- or city name changes?
    But, I suppose that might have involved some effort on the part of the members of the youth movements;
    Ofcourse there would then have been no commissions from Ros Atom, or the Chinese Nuclear agencies, for the clown king of Nkandle, the Guptas or the Shaiks;

    Which would have made their cosying up to a crawling douche bag of a non-leader.

  5. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>just imagine how many RDP households the regime could have made energy self sufficient,

    Just imagine if Mike Watkins had more than just two brain cells –

    1)- while they were tossing buckets of poo, over statues;
    2)- protesting for tertiary institution name changes;
    3)- or city name changes?

    …there would be 3 points with realistic and clear workable solutions that demonstrate that which has been said or claimed to be the ‘Maak ‘n Plan’ aptitude that characterized those whites who did know how to use their heads ‘Once upon a time…’

    >>Which would have made their cosying up to a crawling douche bag of a non-leader.

    There is only one president of South Africa, check on Google and any other search as well as with anyone who has more than two brain cells… and that same president of SA is the leader of the ANC –

    When is Mike Watkins going to become president…??? Only when he finds a ‘Maak ‘n Plan’ brain to fill that void up-stairs. LMAO!!

  6. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    …waste disposal is of concern but can be managed; however reactor safety isn’t that much a concern anymore – in fact when you consider that we have plenty of aircraft in the skies that can be used to bring down skyscrapers,

    …there’s a whole lot more safety concerns that one can concern oneself with in this world; and Greenpeace should be concerning themselves more with CO2 emmissions from coal powered stations.

  7. Andrew Fraser on

    I’m sure that Greenpeace are earnest in their beliefs, I’m just tired of the constant grandstanding by both sides.

    I am a supporter of nuclear as an energy source if the following can be shown:
    1. That it is financially viable – from what I’ve seen recently, nuclear is a really expensive solution that will possibly cost significantly more in the medium to long term than renewables with storage schemes (e.g. pumping schemes, hydrogen electrolysis and fuel cells etc.).
    2. That there is a robust plan to deal with the waste (not such a big issue, but still)
    3. That the money paid will actually go towards building power utilities and not into the pockets of the politically connected in the ANC and the friends of Putin.

    The last point is the biggest stumbling block and government has shown extreme unwillingness to make this project transparent.

  8. Let me chime in in terms of my understanding of nuclear power generation. Apart from the expenses is the fact that the products of nuclear fission (Nuclear ash or waste) are themselves radioactive.

    Because they are relatively efficient absorbers of neutrons, they act to quench the nuclear chain reaction. For this reason, every two or three years a nuclear reactor must be shut down and the fission products separated from the uranium core.

    The half-life of some of the fission products is 20 years. As a matter of fact it may be 100 years ( a century or five generations before a batch can be considered no longer dangerously radioactive. It is for this reason that it must be disposed of with great care.

    Concentrated solutions must be encased (entombed) in concrete, sealed in steel tanks and then buried underground.

    On the contrary the solar energy release by nuclear fusion of hydrogen to helium is sufficient to maintain the sun’s radiation.

    In order to keep its radiation the sun must lose 4.2 Mega tons of mass per second. to do that it must convert 530 Mega tons of hydrogen -1 to helium-4 per second. However the sun has so much huge a supply of hydrogen-1 that although it has been radiating for five or six billion years, there is enough life to power it for billions of years more.

    We should therefore harness this infinite and clean solar energy for our needs. This is a rich legacy what nature has bequeathed us for the sustenance of human life. No risk of ossification and vaporization of any form of life on earth.

  9. Andrew Fraser on

    Therevis no question that Solar is a good source of energy. However the earth rotates and approximately 50% of the time there is no sunlight falling on a the solar arrays. Unfortunately electricity demand is not subject to the same timetable, so solar alone cannot replace fossil fuels and nuclear. Thus, if we want to go forward with renewables, we need to find efficient energy storage solutions.

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