New nuclear power sites investigated

It’s premature for farmers in the St Francis Bay area west of Port Elizabeth to worry about the possible effects of a nuclear power plant on markets for their products
Issue date 31 August 2007

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It’s premature for farmers in the St Francis Bay area west of Port Elizabeth to worry about the possible effects of a nuclear power plant on markets for their products. According to Bongi Shinga of Acer (Africa), the environmental management consultants handling the environmental impact assessments for Eskom’s nuclear power station project, rumours that the Eastern Cape site is receiving priority over the other four proposed sites are untrue. E skom has identified four other coastal sites as suitable for nuclear sites: Bantamsklip, 10km southeast of Pearly Beach in the Western Cape; the existing Koeberg power station at Duynefontein outside Cape Town; Brazil in the Kleinsee/Port Nolloth area of the Northern Cape; and Schulpfontein in the Cape’s Hondeklipbaai/Kleinsee area. “At this stage all the proposed sites are getting equal attention. The construction and operation of the required transmission power lines will be subject to a separate environmental authorisation process, which will run concurrently with this one,” Shinga told Farmer’s Weekly.

Meanwhile, Acer has invited interested and affected parties to participate in the statutory and environmental processes related to the proposed nuclear power stations and associated infrastructure. T he project follows a 2004 Cabinet decision that would build at least 70% of the electricity-generating capacity SA will require in the next two decades – more than 40 000mW of additional electricity. In a document giving background information, Eskom said that nuclear power emitted less than 11g of carbon equivalent per kilowatt-hour. This is similar to wind and solar power, including construction and component manufacturing. Eskom believes that, as South Africa has rich resources of uranium, it makes sense to use this energy source. A s a first step is investigating building a nuclear power station that uses pressurised water technology. Construction could start in 2009/10, with the first unit being commissioned in 2016. – Roelof Bezuidenhout Contact Bongi Shinga or June Mottram at [email protected]