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Nuclear power plant in St Francis area More articles...

The Greater St Francis area has been named as the preferred site for South Africa's latest nuclear plant.

Eskom planning officers have already decided they want Thypsunt to be the site of choice for the next nuclear power station according to a 2008 Eskom (the power utility corporation) report, plus the lastest Environmental report from South Africa's evnronmental department also has named the tiny enclave of Thyspunt near Oyster Bay as the best site.

And amid fears expressed that Thyspunt being chosen could already be a fait accompli, a call has been made to have fierceropposition, for everyone to band together to protect their investments here by taking effective action to stop this happeningon our doorsteps – opposition equal to the strong stance being taken right now by antagonists to prevent Bantamsklip being chosen as a site, plus that taken by KANG in 1999.

In its 2008 report Eskom planners and technologists compared the above two sites plus the third site, Koeberg, to see whichwas the best for the nuclear site. The report ended up recommending Thyspunt as its choice for the following reasons: “From a regional perspective, three broad areas have been considered in the analysis of the best location of the Nuclear 1 powerplant within the greater Cape area. These are: system reliability and quality of supply; integration considerations; andfuture potential of generation in each of the two provinces.

“• The Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth in particular) would experience substantial improvement in system adequacy and supply security due to a better “generation-to-load balance” in the local area, as it has no base-load generation.
• Transmission integration into the Port Elizabeth area is less complex as it requires 400kV transmission infrastructurecompared to Bantamsklip which required extensive 765kV infrastructure.
• The is a vast potential for future generation or power injection into the Western Cape, in contrast to limited potential inthe Port Elizabeth area.
Eskom’s Recommendation:
• From a strategic point of view, it is recommended to install the Nuclear 1 plant in the Eastern Cape (Thyspunt). TheWestern Cape is already a stronger transmission network and also has various generation possibilities for the future.
• The Western Cape should be considered in future phases of the nuclear programme, provided a minimum of three machines havebeen installed in the Thyspunt site.
• The Koeberg site is ranked 2nd after Thyspunt for the Nuclear 1 phase.”

Even though a Record of Decision (RoD) is needed from the Minister of the Environment and Water, Bujelwa Sonjica, plus alicence from the National Nuclear Regulator (the NNR) before nuclear at Thyspunt could go ahead, several observers have saidthere are too many indications signifying that Thyspunt being chosen could already be a fait accompli .
For example, Eskom has even outlined what developments can or cannot be allowed in the 16 km radius of Thyspunt… stipulationsthat have been taken up by Kouga Municipality in its Spatial Develpment Framework ( see story p7).

Other strong indications include documents of minutes of the stakeholders meeting in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropole, chaired by Coega Development Corporation (Mr Inman), where they prioritised Thyspunt for speedy development -- in the interests of CDCand NMBM – not in the interests of Kouga and even offer assistance to Eskom in winning hearts and minds, including those of Cosatu members.
Revealing the above facts Mike Kantey of CANE says: “We need a fresh, popular resistance campaign in Kouga Municipality, similar to the Save Bantamsklip Campaign in the Overstrand Municipality, and we need it now, or lose the investment in ecosystems, agriculture and recreational facilities.

“Thyspunt was defeated by KANG in 1999 and I know we can do it again. (The Kouga Anti-Nuclear Group (KANG) was formed in February 1999. Members include various organisations, local municipalities and organisations of rate-payers. A detailed document entitled Thyspunt Nuclear Site, Grounds for Objection, which was prepared by the strongly backed KANG with support

from the then TLCs of Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp and St Francis Bay, was submitted to the Public Participation Consultant Afrosearch of Hatfield, Pretoria. A decision was subsequently made not to proceed with the Thyspunt project, but to locate the plant at Koeberg instead.)
“I suggest one meeting for representative stakeholders opposed to the site, whose express objective is to form a steering committee to take us to a series of public meetings throughout Kouga Municipality (including the Gamtoos, all the way to Plettenberg Bay and Eden to Addo), where each and every community can be properly informed as to the material dangers to air, soil and water quality and thus to human health,” Kantey says.

“Moreover, European investors are not fooled by nuclear power. As Overberg has shown, they will withhold investment in ecotourism and in the import of organic foodstuffs if there is a hint of nuclear power within a 200-km radius.
“The Save Bantamsklip Campagin was formed not to oppose nuclear power itself, but the siting of a nuclear power station in a pristine conservation area - with all the ramifications and disfiguring power lines on the natural landscape.

“The two EIAs, (the nuclear reactor and the power lines) have been deliberately separated to divide and rule,” Kantey maintains. “We must form a united front to oppose this beast and defeat it once and for all, regardless of the narrow self- interest of the CDC and the NMBM. If they're so keen to have the beast, let them erect it at Coega and leave Thyspunt, Oyster Bay, Jeffreys Bay, the Kromme River, and the whole region alone.

“Six thousand surfers have already signed up and threatened to boycott the Billabong. We are now calling on the residentsof this wonderful coastline to stand up and defend themselves, or lose all of their investments to date to become anotherindustrial wasteland.”

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