Andrew Kenny suggests that nuclear is the answer ("The power facts", Cape Times Letters, November 4)
I agree that nuclear has helped us get where we are, and although it has been cheap in the past, there is absolutely no indication that once all external costs are included, it can still be seen to be cheap.
The main problems I have with nuclear are:
1) That it takes eight to twelve years to build nuclear power stations;
2) Our grandparents said that their children would know how to deal with nuclear waste and nuclear accidents;
3) Every time we build a nuclear power station, it costs much more than the previous one;
4) These monsters are incredibly expensive, leading to massive corruption;
5) Because the time frames are long, we don't know if they are on time or late, hence even more corruption.
The real problem is that we need electricity NOW. Eskom , it's their civil engineering contractors, and
its other suppliers and staff have shown that they cannot deliver on two coal power stations on time, and they are massively over budget, causing hardship to at least 2.5 million people who would have jobs now, if that electricity was available.
So why should the people trust Eskom and the government to build another five nuclear power stations, each bigger than Koeberg, when we know they will be late, massively over budget, and that they will not be able to start supplying much needed electricity in the next few weeks?
Not only that, but Eskom is way behind on maintenance of existing power stations and transmission infrastructure, so if they can't build new power stations, and if they can't maintain the existing system, then surely we need a new way of working, and thinking .
With Embedded Generation, be it renewable, small scale coal or other power plants, we have the unique opportunity for the people to power the country for the first time in history. Image the Khayelitsha Power Station or the Milnerton Power Station . And imagine if these people could provide not only clean, green, sustainable, reliable, electricity, but also clean, green, sustainable, reliable, water at the same time .
Imagine if Khayelitsha and Milnerton could remove their need for the grid from 6am to 10pm every single day and , not only this , but provide electricity at peaking time? For the first time in history, it is possible that by removing ourselves from the grid, we, the people, can give the utility and, more importantly, the country the opportunity to provide the electricity it needs today, and not in 12 years time .
But Eskom and the Department of Public Enterprises and the Department of Energy just aren't interested in buying electricity from the small person, rather preferring to buy really expensive electricity from nuclear power station engineers and their colleagues, and to wait decades for this electricity to come on stream, thus putting the country at risk of all the ills of even more massive unemployment.