Eskom's Koeberg Nuclear Power Station near Cape Town. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Eskom's Koeberg Nuclear Power Station near Cape Town. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Bernard Benson falsely claims that “nuclear energy is clean and efficient ... small modular reactors are safe and clean” (“Energy lessons to be learnt,” February 28.)

All of the CSIR modelling has concluded that nuclear power is never the most cost-effective option for SA. And, far from being “clean”, Koeberg now stores a total of 1,000 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste within Cape Town's municipal boundaries, due to Eskom and the government's failure for 40 years to build a high-level radioactive waste depositary.

It is unthinkable to fantasise about more nuclear power stations until the state first demonstrates its ability to cope with the existing radioactive waste by building that depository.

Eskom is supposed to be setting aside funds monthly to cover the costs of radioactive waste disposal and Koeberg’s decommissioning. It has failed to do that for 40 years. This ballooning cost will inevitably be dumped onto taxpayers when it cannot be kicked down the road any longer.

“Small modular reactors” is the industry's latest euphemism for pebble-bed modular reactors, which have unsolved intrinsic flaws, such as neutron embrittlement of the “pebbles”, causing failing structural integrity.

The Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters prove the necessity of siting nuclear power stations as far away as possible from major population centres.

Keith Gottschalk

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an e-mail with your comments. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Send your letter by e-mail to Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.