Affordable electricity that does not endanger our environment is essential for our wellbeing. Yet, right now a nuclear programme priced at R1 trillion is being promoted by South Africa’s government. Secret deals with foreign governments for about 8 new nuclear stations (9.6GW), are being negotiated by President Zuma and the Dept. of Energy.
The Government’s own draft electricity plan update queries any need for nuclear. South Africa’s treasury is asking questions around the financial viability of these deals. Meanwhile the state owned electricity supplier ESKOM is unable to manage its current responsibilities and is repeatedly asking for for electricity consumers to bail them out of their financial woes through ever increasing tariffs. In 2008 Eskom abandoned a tender for two nuclear reactors because they were seen as unaffordable and nothing has been shown by government to have changed since then. Our national energy policies call for detailed analysis before pursuing nuclear energy. (Read more about cost of nuclear here)
We cannot compromise our sovereignty or energy security with contracts that commit all South Africans, for generations to come, to some of the most expensive and risky energy technology in the world.
SAFCEI believes that people of faith need to take action to oppose these nuclear deals. Failure to prevent this would mean that South Africa would be locked into a nuclear future with long-term costly impacts on society. SAFCEI believes that soaring electricity prices and reduced national budget as government funds and electricity revenue goes to foreign companies that provide nuclear reactors will lead to increasing poverty.
SAFCEI in partnership with Environmental organisation Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, has briefed our legal team and is asking for everyone’s help. We need to raise 1.5 million to prepare and run this court case. We are looking for donors, both international and local, and because government is rushing to sign procurement deals, we need to raise the money now! We ask for your contributions – the smallest donations are welcome. Every rand counts!
SAFCEI’s lawyers have engaged with the Minister of Energy, and are now gearing up to launch a High Court application aimed at ensuring that the procurement of nuclear power plants does not occur in a corrupt or otherwise unlawful fashion.
As part of our ‘Ethical Governance’ programme, SAFCEI is opposed to the nuclear deals. Ethical governance in South Africa would mean that all decisions would be made on the following principles:
1. Access to information – The South African constitution and subsequent laws gives people the right of access to information, particularly when it is in the public interest.
2. Participation – People have the right to participate in decisions that affect them.
3. Transparency – Decisions should be made in a way that it open and in accordance with the law.
4. Accountability – Government leaders should account for their decisions and be held accountable for unethical behaviour.
5. Stewardship – responsible planning and management of natural resources in order to ensure the (improved) wellbeing of future generations.
In addition, here are 5 more reasons why SAFCEI believes nuclear is a no-go:
1 We don’t need nuclear to keep the lights on
In 2015, South Africa’s fledgling renewable energy programme added 1500MW to the grid, helping to minimise load shedding. The government has announced a further 6000MW of solar and wind power projects over the short term. Although coal power stations have serious health and environmental problems, South Africa has already commissioned Medupi and Kusile, the 3rd and 4th largest coal fired power stations in the world. Once operational, these will provide a large amount of our electricity requirements for decades to come.
2 We need electricity now
Nuclear power stations take over 10 years to build. Wind and solar farms take 1 to 2 years to build and provide affordable electricity without the environmental and health costs of nuclear.
3 Nuclear centralises power & provides few sustainable jobs
Renewable energy (wind, solar, hydro) brings power to the people with smaller localized stations. They empower thousands of citizens through job creation and build technical capacity in manufacturing, construction, operation and spin-off industries. “Energy from South Africa’s first wind and solar projects created R800 million in net financial benefits in 2014.” (CSIR)
4 Nuclear power is unaffordable (without subsidies)
Right now the private sector is installing wind and solar, risk free to citizens and selling electricity cheaper than the projected cost for electricity from Medupi. Consumers are also investing in renewables and energy efficiency. Unable to compete, nuclear power is likely to become a white elephant. How will South Africa repay foreign loans for nukes?
5 Nuclear power & uranium mining leave a lethal legacy.
Uranium mines have high environmental & human health costs. Nuclear power plants and spent fuel are a high risk and costly legacy for generations. It inflicts many, many future generations with the burden of radioactive waste. We cannot compromise our sovereignty or energy security with contracts that commit all South Africans, for generations to come, to some of the most expensive and risky energy technology in the world.
HOW CAN YOU HELP RAISE AWARENESS AND ACT TO STOP THE NUCLEAR BUILD PROGRAMME?
You are not alone. Many civic organisations including the unions, social, faith and environmental groups are taking action to oppose new nukes – but so far the government does not appear to be listening. We all need to grow the circle of awareness and action.
Join a SAFCEI anti-nuclear vigil or start your own. The vigils are held every Wednesday morning from 7:30 – 9:00 outside Parliament in Cape Town and simultaneously outside the Department of Energy offices in Pretoria. For more information visit http://earthkeeper.org.za/events/nuclear-energy-nuke-vigil-2/; our nuclear website nuclearcostssa.org or email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you can’t make it to the vigils, write a supporting message on a piece of paper and send us a photo of yourself with your message to add to our Digital #NukeVigil. Post it on Facebook or Twitter using #NukeVigil
Donate money to SAFCEI to help cover legal costs. SAFCEI in partnership with Environmental organisation Earthlife Africa Joahnnesburg, has briefed our legal team and is asking for everyone’s help. We need to raise 1.5 million to prepare and run this court case. We are looking for donors, both international and local, and because government is rushing to sign procurement deals, we need to raise the money now! We ask for your contributions – the smallest donations are welcome. Every rand counts!
Address your concerns or those of your organisation to the people in power below and copy your letter to the media:
- Write to President Zuma at email@example.com and Ms T Joemat-Pettersson, Minister of Energyvia her secretary Olga.Maczali@energy.gov.za. Ask for their mandates both from the South African public and in terms of our Constitution, the IRP and both the National Energy and Energy Regulation Act to make deals for nuclear procurement. Appeal to both President Zuma and Ms T Joemat-Pettersson to stop the nuclear deals and to choose a renewable energy route which has immediate and broad based energy benefits.
- Write to Mr Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance via his PA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Appeal to Mr Gordhan to use his influence to stop the nuclear deals until an independent affordability assessment has been completed – and to request that all the costs are made public.
- Write to Mr Thembani Bukula, National Energy Regulator at Thembani.Bukula@nersa.org.za. Appeal to Mr Bukula to use his influence to stop the nuclear deals until an independent assessment of the implications for electricity tariffs has been completed – and to request that all the costs are made public.
- Write to Adv Thuli Madonsela, Public Prosecutor at email@example.com calling for her to investigate whether the nuclear build decision-making process is consistent with the constitutional values of transparency, fairness, efficiency and does not compromise the health of people or the environment.
- Support SAFCEI’s SONA press statement. “In recent lawyers’ letters to the Ministers of Energy, Public Enterprise and Finance, SAFCEI highlights that any nuclear procurement process based on the outdated electricity plan would be fatally flawed and irrational. SAFCEI’s lawyers argue that our legislative framework is incomplete and unsatisfactory.” Read more at: http://safcei.org/support-safceis-sona-press-statement/
- Read SAFCEI’s letter to South Africa’s erstwhile finance minister the Hon. Nhlanhla Nene from our founding patron, Bishop Geoff Davies on 28th January 2015 “From an energy as well as financial perspective, we believe nuclear energy is going in the wrong direction. We encourage you to tell President Zuma – and Parliament – that our scarce financial resources should be prioritised for the empowerment of our people rather than nuclear energy.” Read more at: http://safcei.org/dear-minister-nene/
For more information go to: Stop Nukes: Prevent democracy meltdown. “The prosperity of all South Africans is based on a democratic system true to the principles of listening to and meeting the real needs of the citizens and a national treasury that is accountable and funds these needs. Yet, right now, a nuclear programme valued in excess of R1 trillion is being promoted by President Zuma and negotiated by government officials and foreign business interests without a proper mandate from the National Development Plan or the Integrated Energy Plan (Draft).” Read more at:http://safcei.org/stop-nukes-prevent-democracy-meltdown/
Appeal to minister over DoE’s refusal to reveal nuclear secrets. “SAFCEI has briefed the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC) to assist with their request for access to information. SAFCEI had also asked for a copy of the authorisation given to the Minister to allow her to enter into a nuclear agreement.” Read more at: http://safcei.org/appeal-minister-refusal-reveal-nuclear-secrets/
Have a look at some resources in our online Library.
Safcei’s board members at a Nuclear Vigil outside parliament. YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BObkyTaMt-w
SAFCEI vigil junkies putting it straight! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwOi7Fxtsj8
Press statement by Bishop G. Davies. Nuclear power will worsen wealth gap http://safcei.org/product/nuclear-power-will-worsen-wealth-gap/
We’re taking the Energy Minister to court: Greenpeace “Greenpeace Africa announced it has filed papers in the Pretoria High Court to compel the Minister of Energy to update the country’s completely inadequate nuclear liability regulation.” By SAPA – February 27, 2015 http://mybroadband.co.za/news/energy/120560-were-taking-the-energy-minister-to-court-greenpeace.html
The Inter-religious Conference on Nuclear Issues held in Aizu-Wakamatsu and Iwaki, Fukushima, in December 2012, concluded by making the following statement: http://safcei.org/product/interreligious-statement-on-fukushima/
Appeal for a Lifestyle without Dependence on Nuclear Power, released by the Japan Buddhist Federation in December 2001: http://safcei.org/product/japan-buddhist-federation-declaration-on-nuclear/
Central Committee of the World Council of Churches calls on churches to work towards a “nuclear free world”: http://safcei.org/product/wcc-statement-towards-a-nuclear-free-world/