SA’s nuclear stealth – one way ticket to bankruptcy

Bev Mortimer

One could be forgiven in thinking as much as South Africa knows very little about nuclear, it borders on a stealth mission. The costs are wishy washy running into billions of dollars, while Outa suggests Eskom slipped a critical gazette on nuclear under the public participation radar. The gazette is attempting to license new nuclear construction sites, one in particular Thyspunt just outside Oyster Bay south of St Francis Bay. A project which, according to the article below, would need a further R5.5 billion worth of infrastructure investment to be made workable. South Africa looks hell bent on nuclear, which also suggests other criteria are behind this power surge. And the costs of such projects, as Eskom’s history suggests, could spiral, and could propel South Africa into bankruptcy. – Stuart Lowman

By Bev Mortimer*

If a nuclear power plant is built at Thyspunt Kouga people need to be ready and an estimated R5.5-billion worth of infrastructure needs to be in place to handle the anticipated influx of people.

This is according to Finney Jordaan, head of the Kouga Business Forum, who spoke on the forum’s views on the prospect of a nuclear site being built at Thyspunt.

The Kouga Business Forum believes in change for the better, he says. “It is for a nuclear power plant as long as the infrastructure needed is in place – so as to prevent chaos. “Having the infrastructure in place will be a catalyst for Kouga to be the best place to live!” Jordaan adds.

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Photo by Bev Mortimer

The Kouga Business Forum recently did an audit of all infrastructures in the Kouga region, Jordaan reveals. “If we get an influx of 20 000 workers here with their families, we will need extra funds for infrastructure to support the increased numbers of people. The auditing team costed everything and came to the figure of R5.5-billion.’

This figure is just to get the infrastructure in place to cope with all the people, Jordaan notes. “The audit team considered all infrastructure for development, such as shops, schools, clinics, hospitals, industries  – everything needed i to supply this influx of people.

“Kouga Business Forum has as an interested party, filed an application that this amount should be set aside for funding as part of the ROD. “This shifts the responsibility direct to the developer (successful vendor) to first supply the funds to get the infrastructure built with those funds (that does not come out of any municipality or government funds).”

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Photo by Bev Mortimer

Jordaan is concerned that without proper planning, funding and timeous execution to build new infrastructure, all the commercial benefits of such a project would bring, will be overshadowed by the additional pressure on current infrastructure that the influx of people will bring. “This is why it is non-negotiable that the R5billion needed, is included in the ROD,” he says.

Kouga business people, Kouga Municipality and Eskom should sit around a table to discuss how to handle the infrastructure needed so as to start preparing for the influx of people expected, Jordaan urges.

Former chairperson of Kouga Business Forum, Frans van Eeden, last year also stated support for a nuclear power station as “it will bring development to the area” – – if we are ready with the infrastructure.

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Photo by Bev Mortimer

In addressing business people from the Kouga Business Forum at an event in Humansdorp, organised by van Eeden, *Dr Kelvin Kemm, a nuclear physicist and chairperson of NEC (Nuclear Energy Corporation) discussed the major business opportunities that would come about if a nuclear plant were to be built at Thyspunt.

“These range from road building, earthmoving and water provision to the welding and construction of pipe systems, electrical installations, and much more. The workforce flocking to the area would have to be housed, fed and entertained, so the business opportunities for catering, housing and entertainment would be terrific,” he said.

  • Bev Mortimer, formerly with top national newspapers like the Rand Daily Mail and global news agency Agence France Presse, relocated to St Francis where she runs the local newspaper, the St Francis Chronicle.
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