Durban – A Russian activist who blew the whistle on South Africa’s pending nuclear marriage with the former Soviet Union believes the deal is all about power; but not the type needed for the grid.
Vladimir Slivyak from the Russian environmental group EcoDefense, leaked the Russian Intergovernmental Framework agreement to South African environmental rights group Earthlife and they in turn unravelled the two countries’ cosy nuclear relationship.
Slivyak said the drive for nuclear power had less to do with energy and more to do with political and geopolitical power. “There is evidence that the cost of nuclear energy per megawatt is far more costly than renewable energy and the time to commission the plants can take up to 30 years in some cases while renewable plants take at most two years,” said Slivyak.
Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear build company, claims to have the green light to build 27 reactors globally.
He said while there was risk in the nuclear plant, he said “no country in the world” has been able to “successfully” deal with nuclear waste and its environmental consequences.
“A nuclear deal makes the recipient country reliant on the provider for several decades, from servicings to fuel.
Read more at ‘Nuclear not needed and perfect for graft’
FINANCE Minister Nhlanhla Nene says he will hold the line on the procurement of nuclear energy if it is unaffordable, and will reduce the head count of the public service to ensure spending stays in line with fiscal targets.
Mr Nene is under enormous political pressure to accede to a presidency-backed plan to procure 9,600MW of nuclear energy capacity at a time when public finances are at their weakest since the mid 1990s.
Underlining this pressure was the appearance of a fake intelligence dossier last week, smearing top Treasury officials as apartheid agents and alleging that they and Mr Nene are part of a conspiracy by the old white establishment to control the Treasury.