On Tuesday, South African power utility, Eskom, welcomed a statement issued by the Council for Geoscience, which confirmed that there is nothing in the geology, bed rock topography or seismology of the proposed Thyspunt nuclear site that disqualifies the area for the construction of a nuclear installation.
The parastatal explained that the Council for Geoscience (CGS) is the custodian of South Africa's geoscience data.
According to the Geoscience Act (Act 100 of 1993), the CGS is mandated to collect and curate all geoscience data and knowledge in the South African National Geoscience Repository, promote research and the extension of knowledge in the field of geoscience and render specialised geoscientific services to enable informed and scientifically sound decisions on the use of the earth’s surface and resources within the territory of South Africa.
Eskom has comprehensively studied the seismic and tsunami risks at the Thyspunt site through extensive data collection designed to estimate regional uplift and deformation rates, earthquake potential, geological faults, marine terrace, fault corridor studies and trenching.
These studies led to the recovery of numerous rock samples that were dated using a variety of techniques.
These studies provided conclusive evidence that allowed five faults (Baviaanskloof, eastern Coega, western Coega, Kouga and Cape St. Francis) to be definitively classified as non-seismogenic.
The CGS says it has undertaken a number of geoscientific investigations over the past two decades to assess the suitability of several coastal localities for the development of critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants.
This research encompassed seismic monitoring, geological mapping and specialised, neotectonic studies to assess hazards of a geological nature. Meticulous care was taken to ensure that this work achieved internationally-accepted standards.
The Council for Geoscience said: “Based on the extensive geoscientific database established for the Thyspunt locality and surrounding region, as well as a significant body of research undertaken to date, we are confident that the site geology is well understood and that all potential major geological hazards have been identified and considered.”
“From a public and nuclear safety perspective, there is nothing in the geology, bed rock topography or seismology of the region that disqualifies the Thyspunt site for the construction of a nuclear installation. The CGS takes this opportunity to reassure the South African public that the utmost care and due diligence were exercised when conducting all work for the Thyspunt site.”