SOUTH AFRICAN apartheid energy throwback, Eskom has announced its latest scheme to “find other uses for the PBMR”. Hawking white elephants around the globe in a time of economic crisis might seem like a bad joke if it weren’t for the seriousness of nuclear proliferation in an age of cross-border war, the high probability of an accident resulting in contamination, emissions and radiation and the high chance that human error will compound problems related to economic greed.
Unlike conventional nuclear plants, the PBMR is a technology that does not have any safety features other than the strange and untested claim that the nuclear pebbles are better for you, (in fact so better for you that they may even beat organic lettuce and tofu in a head-to-head competition for palatability, reliability and sustain-wattability, see below) For instance there is no containment building in the actual design, “perhaps to make the design economically feasible” proposes, Anthony Frogget a researcher at Heinrich Boll Stiftung. Surely Eskom is asking a bit much from the public to continue bankrolling a couple of atomic pebbles whose safety is in question, spending money that according to Richard Worthington, could be better spent on solar power?
I therefore offer you some uses for the mothballed PBMR you might not have thought of:
- Ultra-expensive paper-weight on the next President’s pebble-desk.
- Hot-water heater for HIV-free showers and extra-marital sex parlours.
- Julius Malema would look good next to the PBMR
- PBMR makes wonderful neighbour, great for bringing down property prices.
- If you had a PBMR in your backyard, you probably are not losing any sleep over the cellphone radiation issue and don’t mind microwaves from nearby relay masts. So let’s just up the dose even further and wait until the cost of x-rays come down.
- Police decoy on the Cape Flats, if the toxic waste gets stolen we won’t have to worry about it.
- PBMR makes for a brighter future for the SABC board who won’t have to worry about their hairdos since they will all be bald, and glow in the dark.
- The Proudly South Africa campaign can now be renamed Proud to have a Rare form of Cancer thanks to the PBMR campaign!
- If the Springbok rugby team had a PBMR they wouldn’t have to worry about not scoring because the other team wouldn’t bother to show up, ditto for our Olympic athletes.
- We could send the PBMR to Zimbabwe where it would deflect attention away from Robert Mugabe and inflation by keeping a starving, yet happy population busy figuring out the half-life of radiation and the value of Strontium 90.
- The Day After and China Syndrome, are two super-scary flieks about nuclear contamination but if we put the PBMR in the Karoo, we could sell tickets to the next End of the World movie, along with scary disfigured mutant rodents and wild Proteas that really eat people.
- Not to worry, Eskom says PBMR waste could be sent to the Middle of the Sun, using a R50 billion space rocket that will cost R300 trillion rand to launch.
- The People’s Republic of Blakvakistan wants one so that they can threaten the free world with atomic cigars and glow-in-the-dark missiles after the price of oil collapses.
- We could send the PBMR to the Middle East where it would bring about world peace by killing everyone there who isn’t dead already. Ban Ki-Moon included.
- Finally, PBMR is better than owning a PVR and watching Charlize Theron and Sevende Laan and provides hours of entertainment for the whole family. If you buy one from Eskom, we’ll throw in a complimentary set of steak knives, rubber gloves and a decontamination suit.