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Koeberg anti-nuclear protests set for Thursday

The anti-nuclear protests will take place at Bloubergstrand Road in Cape Town. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA

The anti-nuclear protests will take place at Bloubergstrand Road in Cape Town. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA

Published Dec 15, 2021

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Cape Town - The Koeberg Alert Alliance, the South African Faith Communities Environmental Institute (SAFCEI) and some Cape Town residents are organising a protest on Thursday, December 16.

The protest will take place on the 16km nuclear evacuation line in Bloubergstrand Beach, Cape Town.

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According to a statement, the protest is to demand answers on the safety of the Koeberg Power plant. This is in response to Eskom’s intention to add another 20 years to the nuclear plant’s lifespan. Koeberg's 40-year design life and the operating license expire in 2024.

Residents are questioning whether the safety standards by the National Nuclear Regulator will be applied to the licensing extension.

“We call on Eskom not to extend the designed lifespan of the Koeberg nuclear power plant and shut it down as planned in 2024,” says Koeberg Alert Alliance spokesperson Peter Becker.

“Eskom claims that the work will take six-and-a-half months per reactor unit, which means in the best case, Koeberg will be at half capacity for all of 2022. This will result in unnecessary load-shedding, at a huge cost to the economy,” he added.

The organisations say that they are concerned with the lack of transparency from Eskom relating to the plant. They allege that Eskom was not forthcoming with information regarding several recent unplanned outages, the amount of time unite one has been off-line this year and the loss of essential staff members at the plant.

“The sheer lack of transparency around the issues plaguing Koeberg is reminiscent of what happened with the unlawful nuclear deal in 2017,” said SAFCEI’s executive director Francesca de Gasparis.

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Amongst these lists of demands, the organisations are demanding the implementation of proper evacuation plans in the event of earthquakes and tremors, which have frequented the plant in recent years.

“We want to make it clear to Eskom that the public must be consulted about this process, because it will affect the communities that live in the area and it is not up to Eskom make these decisions alone,” Becker added.

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