20 February 2008
Press Release: Nuclear Industry backs down
The powerful South African nuclear industry has backed down and withdrawn the complaint it laid with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) over the screening by Carte Blanche of Uranium Road, a documentary about the country’s nuclear industry. The hearing, planned for Wednesday the 20th February, was cancelled because a settlement was reached with M-Net. It is understood that the settlement involves Carte Blanche screening a follow-up programme on the nuclear industry.
Earthlife Africa believes that the nuclear industry has in this way managed to make claims about the veracity of the film and yet has avoided having to substantiate their criticism of the documentary in a public forum. Earthlife Africa believes that the nuclear industry representatives agreed to a settlement because of the publicity surrounding the hearing, and that they were keen to avoid public scrutiny.
Uranium Road is a documentary about the history of the nuclear industry in South Africa as well as the present status of nuclear power in the country. It was screened on Carte Blanche, M-Net’s current affairs programme, in November 2007. It raised questions about the nuclear industry and was intended to generate public debate. Dr Rob Adam, who was interviewed in the film, laid a complaint on behalf of NIASA (Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa).
Earthlife Africa considers the government’s plans to increase dependence on nuclear power to be unnecessary for the development of South Africa. There are alternative ways to address our energy needs. Earthlife Africa welcomes any debate that encourages awareness about the impact of nuclear power on our environment, because many South Africans only hear about nuclear power from the nuclear industry. The industry claims that nuclear power is a clean and safe energy source. In fact it is neither clean nor safe. In addition, there are limited reserves of uranium available.
Renewable energy technologies (such as solar and wind) offer economically viable, safer and cleaner alternatives to nuclear power. The development of the renewable energy sector has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and stimulate local economies in areas where unemployment levels are high.
For more information contact:
Maya Aberman, Earthlife Africa Cape Town, Tel: 021 447 4912, Cell: 076 754 6327
Tristen Taylor, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, Tel: 011 339 3662, Cell: 084 250 2434
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