10 March 2008 – The environmental organisation Earth life has objected to plans to make nuclear generation part of Namibia’s energy mix. It said Namibia’s sustainable and climate friendly resources should be used to benefit its people, country and environment, according to the New Era newspaper.

Nuclear-reactor

Fuel assemblies are
placed in a rack in
the bottom of a nuclear
reactor commonly known
as a core barrel

Namibia’s government last week approved plans to build a nuclear power plant, to which Earth life have objected on the basis that it is not the answer to climate change, and that it is unsustainable, with new reserves being exhausted within 60 to 70 years.

Said Birchen Koshers, Earth life spokesperson "Nuclear waste is a problem that does not go away because it remains dangerous for at least 200 000 years."

However, Cabinet have approved the ministry of mines and energy plans for a nuclear regulatory framework. With an installed capacity of 384MW, but peak demand of 450MW, Namibia needs to meet the shortfall of electricity being experienced in the country. Shortfalls are currently being met by imports from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Before any nuclear power plants can be built, a regulatory framework needs to be in place which sets out nuclear safety, licensing requirements and building, commissioning and de-commissioning of nuclear power plants and facilities. This framework must also set out procedures for dealing with nuclear waste.

Despite the picture being portrayed by lobbyists, that nuclear energy was climate friendly, Earth life believes "the whole fuel cycle of nuclear power from uranium mining to the decommissioning of the power station releases three to four times more carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced than renewable energy."

The high technological capacity for nuclear generation is completely absent in the country and would have to be developed in Namibia or imported at very high costs," the organisation added.