Saturday, December 6, 2008

Beginning of the end?

We won yesterday in South Africa. The "we" in this case is the anti-nuclear movement (those close to me are often asking "Which 'we' are you talking about Paxus?"). The Financial Times reports:

In a big setback for the world’s renascent nuclear industry, South Africa’s publicly owned utility, Eskom, on Friday cancelled plans to build a new multi-billion dollar plant.
The FT goes on to point out that this means there are no active tenders for new reactors in any of the worlds promising markets and that SA was planning on eight more reactors after these two which were canceled. What they don't point out is that this is especially vexing for the nuclear industry because, unlike almost all of the rest of the world the South Africa economy is still growing and forecasted to grow and that South Africa was leading the charge for pebble bed reactors design which were supposed to be "smaller, cheaper and safer".

The state utility is instead investing in conventional sources to meet the forecasted growing energy demand, while still holding open the option of new reactors in the future. So we have won the battle, but the war is not over.

Certainly, the credit crunch played into this decision, but i also credit Greenpeace which just two weeks ago sent out it's report on the risk of nuclear investments to every member of the SA parliament. There is so much wrong with nuclear, simply reporting the truth is often enuf to kill these projects, even with the highest paid sales force in the world lying and bribing (as they did in Argentina, South Korea and the Philippines) their way to success.

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