A year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a debate was held between environmental organisations and pro nuclear power representatives was held at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Published : Times Live, 2012-02-28
Ayako Oga, a survivor of the nuclear disaster was present to speak about the disaster’s impact.
“People still living in areas affected, schools and nurseries have changed the time spent on activities and almost all kids don’t play outside,” said Oga.
Greenpeace and Green Life Africa spoke against nuclear power and what they called ‘state secrecy’ on matter.
“Information on the nuclear build has been kept from the public where it should be debated. This build will allow the Energy Department to determine tariffs on energy without consulting the public,” said Tristen Taylor of Green Life Africa.
Greenpeace Africa said that nuclear energy was not an option for South Africa.
“South Africa is not learning from what happened in Fukushima. There is also a lot of confusion in that before it was said that a trillion would go into the power station and it is now R300 billion. This only raises concerns,” said Ferrial Adam of Greenpeace.
Andrew Kenny, an environmentalist and engineer with an interest in energy, differed on nuclear power.
“It’s absolute nonsense that wind energy is cheaper and better than nuclear. What happened in Fukushima was an industrial tragedy and with proper precautions disasters can be avoided.
“Nuclear energy is the best way forward for South Africa. We need more energy and nuclear energy is safe, clean, economical and sustainable.”
Regarding Fukushima, Kenny said the disaster was a worst case scenario.
“The earthquake and tsunami killed people in this case, the nuclear disaster had no fatalities.” Kenny explained.
CEO of the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa, Ayanda Myoli said nuclear power was the best way forward and the public was consulted about state nuclear plans.
“Consultations were made on nuclear proposals in various areas. While nuclear energy is expensive to build, in the long term it is cheaper that wind and solar energy.” said Myoli.
Myoli also said that in controlled circumstances radiowaves were not dangerous.
“I have seven years of work experience in a nuclear plant and I am healthy.” Myoli said.