Statement: People of Faith in South Africa say “NO to Nuclear Energy”

  • Published:

As we face (yet) another push for nuclear energy from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), faith communities are saying NO to nuclear energy in South Africa.

We are calling on the government and DMRE to invest in ethical, equitable and sustainable energy plans that promote wellbeing for current and future generations and which safeguard all life on our beautiful land.

Millions in South Africa are facing hunger, poverty, unemployment and continued energy blackouts (load shedding) from Eskom and the DMRE while under the Covid-19 pandemic. Our votes are rendered meaningless and our democracy a travesty when there is no transparency or opportunities for public participation in decision making and accountability for past wrongs.

Faith communities across South Africa call on the DMRE to:

  • Abandon outdated nuclear power to South Africa and stop pushing this expensive and unnecessary energy.
  • Root out the corrupt and unethical decision-makers in the energy sector, and hold the Executive accountable for its decisions.
  • Promote energy justice and enact public participation.
  • Uphold moral values and ethics, and be socially inclusive in its decision making.
  • Invest in renewable energy sources that will bring equity to our people.

The risks and uncertainties of climate change are looming, posing an even greater long-term threat to human and planetary wellbeing. As members of faith communities, it is our moral obligation to advocate for an urgent transition to renewable energy generation.

Here are some of the key issues highlighted in our letter to the DMRE sent last year on 6 June 2020:

  • While facing a crippling burden of debt, power outages and human suffering, expensive nuclear power projects will only make matters worse.
  • Renewable energy is cheaper, cleaner, safer, climate smarter, quicker to construct and has greater job creation opportunities than any new fossil fuel or nuclear project.
  • Fourteen years of research and billions of Rands were wasted on small nuclear energy systems known as the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, a project ultimately abandoned in 2010.
  • A secretive trillion Rand nuclear deal between Russia and South Africa was stopped by a court order in 2017, for being unlawful and unconstitutional.
  • Leaving a legacy of hazardous waste and debt to future generations is not ethical.

And yet the push for nuclear energy continues with greater urgency despite affordable, non toxic and accessible energy be available that could address our energy needs now.

Read SAFCEI’s letter and sign on to join the movement toward a just energy future for all.