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29 July 2011

Anti-nuclear summit in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - The Coalition against Nuclear Energy (CANE) has convened a National Anti-Nuclear Summit, to be held at the Country Crescent Hotel in Plettenberg Bay on Friday and Saturday, July 29 and 30.

Delegates attending the summit will include Rianne Teule, Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaigner, who has recently returned from Japan; Richard Worthington World Wildlife Fund (WWF) veteran climate-change campaigner and founder of the South African Climate Action Network; Dr David Fig, author of ‘Uranium Road’, policy analyst and academic researcher; Makoma Lekalakala, Muna Lakhani and Gray Macguire, the Sustainable Energy Climate Change Project ‘Earthlife Africa’; Keith Gottschalk, Senior Lecturer in Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape; Derek Luyt, Public Service Accountability Monitor from Rhodes University; Sibusiso Mimi Research Officer, National Union of Mineworkers; Lesley Richardson, Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative and Alison Kuhl, Supertubes Surfing Foundation (SSF).

Road trip protest
A convoy of Plettenberg Bay anti-nuclear protestors undertook a road trip to Jeffrey’s Bay on Thursday, July 21 to lend support to the SSF anti-nuclear campaign staged during the Billabong Pro surf competition, which draws considerable international media coverage.

Once there, the protestors, including CANE chairperson Mike Kantey, signed petitions and added their names to the numerous yellow flags carrying the names of those opposed to the erection of a proposed nuclear reactor at Thuyspunt which lined the beach at Jeffrey’s Bay for the duration of the international surfing competition.
All international surfers signed the petition as did over 1 000 members of the audience, adding their names to the line of yellow flags: one flag per protestor.

Whilst the Plett protestors are concerned about nuclear energy production on a global scale, they are particularly concerned at the prospect of trucks carrying nuclear waste travelling through the Garden Route en route to the Vaalputs nuclear waste disposal site in the Northern Cape should the proposed Thyspunt reactor become a reality.
Comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment is due on August 7. As such, those able to understand this report, which is shrouded in technical jargon, do not have much time if they wish to participate in the process.

Kantey holds particular reservations regarding the impact on human health resulting from the emissions and effluent associated with nuclear energy production. He also has concerns for the marine impacts resulting from the increased water temperature following its use for cooling.

According to Kantey, soon after the catastrophe of Fukushima (Japan) in March, the minister of energy made a declaration for six new reactors as part of the Integrated Resource Plan for electricity production (the IRP2010) in the face of heavy opposition and many submissions by members of the Civil Society Energy Caucus, including affected communities, the labour movement, faith-based organisations, and many non-government organisations (NGOs).

"Moreover, in recent months, Eskom has persisted with public meetings in Cape Town, Overstrand and Kouga Municipalities, in desperate defence of their Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report," said Kantey.
According to whom, Eskom was met with fierce resistance by individual CANE members, the ‘Koeberg Alert Alliance’, the ‘Save Bantamsklip Campaign’, the ‘Thyspunt Alliance’, and many others.

"What is most disconcerting is that no nuclear technology has been specified; many specialist studies have not been completed adequately; and no final solution for the spent fuel has been specified," said Kantey.

Kantey is of the opinion that this apparent failure to prepare the ground properly for the preferred Thyspunt site, "but with Bantamsklip and Koeberg to follow, making up two reactors each on three designated sites," will inevitably lead to a series of court challenges in the following years. "A ‘war chest’ has already been started for this express purpose," said Kantey.

Those wishing to attend the summit can contact Mike Kantey on 072 628 5131.