Bringing light to the nuclear energy secrecy
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) hosted a Nuclear energy seminar on the 3rd September 2015 at the Austerville Community Hall at 5pm. Mr. Vladimir Slavyak was the key speaker. Vladimir is a senior lecturer on Environmental Policy at the Russian National Research University and is also a part of a Russian organisation called Eco Defence. He has been campaigning against nuclear energy for 25 years. He is also the author of ‘From Hiroshima to Fukushima’ which chronicles the 2011 Japanese nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi and describes the Russian nuclear industry’s lack of preparedness for similar accidents. He has also written over 300 articles on environmental and energy issues, which have been published in both the Russian and international media.
Despite the terrible weather, many south Durban residents were eager to hear about proposed disastrous nuclear development. Mr Slavyak shared his experience of nuclear reactors in Russia. He stressed that many countries don’t consider the fact that decommissioning a nuclear plant is as expensive as building a new one. The companies who are creating these nuclear reactors are not honest. According to Mr Slavyak “The capacity to build reactors is very limited, they can only make one a year. They made a deal and 5 years later construction of the nuclear reactor had not started.” In Bulgeria, the Russian promised to create a reactor for 5 billion RUB, however ended up demanding 10 billion RUB.
There have been too many nuclear accidents that have occurred; some have been kept a secret. The Chernobyl accident that took place on the 26thApril 1986 was first announced as a minor gas leak however it has been the biggest and worst nuclear disaster to date. He said he measured the radiation level in the area and found that it was extremely high. He further explained that the reactors need huge amounts of water to cool down or they could explode. They use the water and discharge it back to the source from which it is taken, which increases the radiation in the water.
The high level of radiation can cause many health problems such as genetic disorder and cancer. There is a great lack of knowledge and information regarding radiation and the impact it has on people and the environment. The amount of radiation in the storage is much more than that of the reactor. He showed a graph depicting the nuclear share. It showed how many reactors were built around the world and when they were commissioned.
Unfortunately South Africa wants to create a new reactor that has not been tested. The dangers are unknown and they are being dishonest about the prices of the reactors. There are many additional costs which are not included in the decommissioning of the reactor. South Africa will be deeply in debt if they go ahead with the decommissioning of these nuclear reactors.
Renewable energy is the best solution. Solar will eventually replace nuclear and coal. Nuclear is being replaced by renewable but nuclear companies want to make money so they are trying to convince the countries to implement it by saying that ‘we could be like a first world country’. Germany is one of the most economically advanced countries because they have invested in renewable energy
The floor was opened to everyone for comments and questions. Many members complained that the lack of youth participation is worrying. The lack of information and secrecy indicates that this development is not a good one.