SOUTH AFRICA’s energy crisis is not going to be solved by putting PBMR’s in every bus and mini-taxi. A nuclear toaster and radioactive oven, is not the solution to our nations’s woes. Since there is no such thing as a safe dose, our government must undertake to reduce harmful emissions and conduct an audit to assess the culmalitive affect of radiation exposure at its facilities at Pelendaba and Koeberg. As far as we know, Radiation kills and Uranium could turn out to be the asbestos of the 21st century.
Without a commitment from government, workers will be forced to carry the brunt of the PBMR min-koeberg policy. This without a proper environmental impact assessment that takes into account the long term consequences of nuclear power. The Strontium and Ceasium emissions from Koeberg alone are enough to make one glow in the dark.
An exit strategy from the insane (and costly) PBMR project embarked upon by our Ministers of Public Enterprises, (a leftover from the apartheid-era government and military) is needed. One camp amongst economists is pushing for Natural Gas as the solution. Concievably, natural gas is a lot cleaner than coal, and could change the way we power vehicles as well as generate electricity. Another favours hydrogen.
Unlike most bunny-hugging eco-feminists who favour soft options such as wind, solar and hydro, I propose hard options such as kinetic wave “energy from the ocean” — plenty of coastline and as most surfers can tell you, waves are powerful!. Next up, geothermal energy from the earths core — plenty of hot rocks at Goudini and we have the technology to drill up to 2km down. Then, natural gas and natural gas to hydrogen, which will revolutionise transport and domestic electricity production. Yes to hydrogen fuel cells, (old skylab technology) and of course sky-tethers that form a plasma and use the earth’s own rotational pull to milk kinetic energy. But I wouldn’t want to leave out large solar arrays that focus the sun’s energy to boil gas which then drives generators, especially in the Karoo where it’s hot all day.
Is there an exit strategy for Min. Erwin? Can he step back from the brink of nuclear meltdown (a near miss last December). Will we see natural gas overtake the PBMR as South Africa’s preferred energy source? Without an energy master plan that takes into account public and private transport, domestic and commercial electricity provision, the needs of the people, there can only be friction between cabinet and the movement-at-large. Perhaps someone will work out a way to harness the energy spent at mass demonstrations, and put our toyi toyi to good use?