On Wednesday, distressed citizens gathered around the French and Russian embassies in Johannesburg in protest of the foreign countries nuclear reactors to be installed in South Africa.

‘We will be sending a clear message that South Africans do not want either Russia or France's nuclear reactors’, Earthlife Africa members said in a statement.

Earthlife Africa was established in 1988 to give a voice to the many South African citizens who are silenced when authoritative decisions are made impacting both the environment and livelihood of people.

The current mission of the organisation is to address the core issues which will result from the nuclear deal which South Africa signed with Russia and France. These include:

  • The purchase of nuclear reactors will inject money into the French and Russian economies, and uplift their nuclear sector. This is a negative for South Africa as money is being removed from the already ‘poor’ economy instead of going in to rebuild it.
  • Secondly, with the massive debt incurred by Eskom, the citizens will not only continue to be crippled by high tariffs to offset this debt but the country will ‘compromise it’s financial independence’. The nuclear programme will continue to extort money out of the South African economy to fund the programme.

‘As is the case with Medupi and Kusile, reckless energy expenditures will be covered through increased taxation and rising tariffs’.

  • Lastly, the statement said that the opportunity cost of the deal will impact negatively on the development of the South African economy. Nuclear power is the most expensive type of energy generation and the money will be plugged into foreign economies instead of South Africa.

‘If we invested in renewable energy instead, pumping even half of the proposed nuclear price tag, into the nascent South African renewable energy industry, we could develop a jobs intensive and affordable home-grown energy sector’...

‘New wind is cheaper than new coal in South Africa, both of which are dirt cheap when compared to nuclear power’.

The activists concluded the statement by saying that ‘windmills and concentrated solar plants do not experience meltdowns or produce volumes of radioactive and toxic waste that last for tens of thousands of years. Nor, we might add, do their fuel silos collapse’.

The use of sarcasm is an act of humiliation to the state owned generation utility, Eskom, putting them back in the spotlight for their mismanaged failures.