Political fission: South Africa's nuclear programme

Fig, David
May 2006
Energy & Environment;2006, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p457
Academic Journal
Divisive plans to revive the nuclear programme in South Africa are more than likely to repeat apartheid mistakes: investing huge amounts of public money in high risk infrastructure, enrichment of cronies with political connections, and excluding citizens from any say in their energy future. Twenty years after Chernobyl, Cape Town is facing unprecedented and sustained electricity blackouts and the attendant economic disruption as the mismanagement of the two existing nuclear power stations at Koeberg becomes patently evident. The state's answer is to point to a broader power shortage in South Africa, and to propose a spate of pebble bed reactors as a panacea. The present article argues that this proposal is too expensive, creates more of a security state instead of building South Africa's new democracy, and leaves an unsustainable environmental and cost legacy. The argument is made in the context of South Africa's nuclear history-a sordid intermingling of proliferation and power provision as apartheid attempted to survive.


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