1 June 2007
PRESS RELEASE: ESKOM CONTINUES TO DENY NUCLEAR ENERGY FACTS
Earthlife Africa Cape Town is astounded by Eskom’s continued denial of some of the facts about nuclear energy. The utility appears determined to spread misinformation about the viability of nuclear energy to promote sustainable development and combat climate change.
The nuclear industry and its proponents are exploiting concerns over global warming by misrepresenting nuclear power as a carbon-free electricity source and global climate saviour. The complete nuclear fuel chain is extremely energy intensive and dirty. The nuclear fuel cycle releases carbon dioxide during mining, fuel production, transport, plant construction and decommissioning, as well as for waste management far into the future.
The South African government through its mouthpieces at Eskom, the Department of Minerals and Energy and the Department of Public Enterprises also persist in ignoring the serious health and safety threats posed by nuclear energy. There is no such thing as a “safe” dose of radiation. There is no debate as to whether radiation kills, maims, causes mutations, is cumulative, causes leukaemia, cancers, respiratory illnesses and attacks the immune system because we already know it does. There is no responsible way to “dispose” of radioactive waste anywhere in the world and it remains dangerous for up to hundreds of thousands of years. How can the nuclear industry expand without having resolved this problem? It will be future generations that will be forced to bear many of the health, environmental and financial costs.
It is further ironic that Eskom is promoting nuclear energy on the heels of almost two years of technical problems, loose bolts, negligence and apparent confusion at Koeberg nuclear power station. Most Western Cape residents will remember the rolling blackouts that resulted.
Earthlife Africa Cape Town poses the question; if it is impossible to maintain proper maintenance and operating procedures at its only existing nuclear power station, how does it intend to do so for the proposed additional stations all over the country?
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