Anti-nukes still awaiting Thyspunt EIA

Cindy Preller and Pericles Anetos

ANTI-nuclear organisations are eagerly anticipating the final environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the proposed nuclear power station at Thyspunt near Oyster Bay.

An awareness meeting was held last night in Port Elizabeth of the noPEnuke campaign, which is driven by the newly established non-profit organisation Bay Eco Voice, who are opposed to the nuclear power plant being built at Thyspunt.

The Department of Energy’s director general Neli Magubane said last week at the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa Convention in Port Elizabeth nuclear energy was “a necessity, not just an option any more”.

However, Thyspunt Alliance coordinator Trudi Malan said the alliance, which consists of several resident associations and civic organisations based in the Kouga area, would continue to engage and challenge the Thyspunt final EIA, “which we have been promised for 19 months”.

The alliance has been dealing with drafts of the EIA since the process started in 2007 and she said it was important to do this unemotionally and with expert backing.

One of the flaws in the draft EIAs, Malan said, had been the impact of transportation if the development of the nuclear power station continued. The proposed use of two roads through Humansdorp were questioned by the Thyspunt Alliance due to the unsuitability of heavy freight moving through the town’s centre.

“Now a new road is proposed outside town, for which an entire new EIA will be needed,” Malan said.

She also pointed out that the Sand River Bridge had collapsed both in 2007 and 2011 due to dune and water movement.

Another concern was the impact the construction of a nuclear plant would have on the heritage of the area as well as the effect on the local squid industry.

Malan said the alliance would continue to question the final EIA once it was published. “…the alliance will appeal to the minister. … we will go to the Constitutional Court.”

Project 90 by 2030 head of policy and research Robert Fischer said there was no need to invest in nuclear energy if renewable energy was implemented properly.

“We can do without nuclear and a third coal power plant. To invest in energy efficiency projects will cost less than to invest in coal or nuclear.

“In Germany wholesale energy prices have decreased by 30% in the past two years because of energy efficiency initiatives,” Fischer said.

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