Apr 11 2011
by Max Matavire
A provincial anti-nuclear energy organisation has intensified its opposition to the proposed construction of a reactor at Thyspunt, Oyster Bay, on fears of repercussions of a nuclear accident.
Japan’nuclear disaster has bolstered the opposition to the use of this type of energy. Reactors at Fukushima plant in Japan have been leaking harmful radioactive materials into the environment following an earthquake and a tsunami there on March 11.
South Africa is faced with an energy crunch and identified increased use of nuclear power as one of the possible solutions. Power utulity Eskom has earmarked Thyspunt as a site for the construction of a nuclear reactor.
Activists and residents are vehemently opposed to the plan. Mike Kantey, the chairperson of the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy (Cane), said his organisation wanted to change the country’s energy policy away from nuclear power plants.
Kantey vowed to oppose the development of a nuclear plant all the way, promising to take the fight to the Constitutional Court.
Cane is now calling on all residents of the province – and the Garden Route – to rally behind the call to stop the construction of the nuclear reactor.
Kantey said the nuclear emissions and waste along the N2 national road posed serious health risks and could irrevocably damage tourism in the region. The government has said it hoped to break ground in 2013, but the plant has to first receive environmental approval and undergo a public participation process before any construction work can begin.
Kantey said he was busy preparing for “battle” against the up-coming environmental approval of the nuclear facility.
Numerous organisations of nuclear activists, environmentalists, dairy farmers, chokka fishermen and ordinary residents have been mobilised to fight against the construction of the nuclear facility.
Some of the organisations involved are the Thyspunt Alliance, the Supertubes Foundation in Jeffreys Bay, Gamtoos community, dairy farmers, residents and the fishing community. The concerns raised include the risk of winds carrying radioactive emissions from Thyspunt to neighbouring areas and the effect on the agriculture and dairy industries.
The opponents of the plant further wanted detailed information on the safety measures and disaster management plans that were in place for the towns along the N2 highway in case of an accident.
Kantey called for substantial support. “I am calling on residents of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay to put their money and support behind the Thyspunt Alliance so that we can take this matter to the Constitutional Court.”
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