women against nukes demonstration

Submitted by incoming on Wed, 2012-03-07 18:53

We will not die quietlyWe will not die quietlyWomen's Demonstration on International Women's Day Against Nuclear Power

The Women's Energy and Climate Change Forum is a forum of women from grassroots organisations around Gauteng. The women of this Forum chose to mark International Women's Day with a demonstration at the Department of Energy to highlight their concerns over the announcement by the Minister of Energy on the new nuclear build programme.

Demonstration Date: 8th of March 2012
Time: 12:00 to 14:30
Address: Department of Energy, 75 Meintjies Street, cnr Schoeman Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria

The nuclear build programme is estimated to cost R1 trillion – with the R300 billion allocated to it in the national budget being only the start. Energy Minister Dipuo-Peters said: "I think that the amount of money that has been allocated... for the nuclear build is not a thumb-suck, and we don't actually think that is the end amount, but we believe that it is the beginning."

Not only is the actual cost of the nuclear build programme unclear at this point, but the decision by the Department of Energy to proceed with this programme is lacking in transparency, undemocratic and quite possibly illegal.

The Integrated Resource Plan legislative framework process of 2010 aimed to obtain input from citizens of this country on their energy mix choices. The initial findings of that process was a resounding call from citizens for no nuclear in the mix. Despite this, and despite a workable plan produced by the Department of Energy that did not include nuclear, the final IRP document includes new nuclear builds in its programme. This is undemocratic.

The government's own rules on this process requires that the Department of Environmental Affairs sign off on the new nuclear build programme based on the Environmental Impact Assessment. The EIA process is still underway, with the submission of the first round of comments on the EIA from interested and affected parties still awaiting a record of decision from the DEA. The announcement from DOE on a new nuclear build programme is therefore premature and illegal.

The Women's Energy and Climate Change Forum is calling on the government and Department of Energy to:

* Reconsider its decision on nuclear power expansion, noting the billions of rands wasted on the PBMR project, which could have been directed to investing in renewable energy projects and government-led poverty eradication programs;

* Consider the costs full nuclear fuel cycle – from plant construction, fuel mining and enrichment to running costs, decommissioning and waste storage - along with the ethics of nuclear power, the history of nuclear industry, issues of safety, liability and long-term impacts;

* Note the Chernobyl disaster, Three Miles Island and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy accidents which are vivid in the minds of people globally, and the dangers nuclear energy poses to the South African citizenry.

* Note that a number of countries around the world have either abandoned or reversed their nuclear energy plans.

The application for the march of the women's forum to present these concerns to the Department of Energy was initially refused by the City of Tswane's Community Safety Department. After seeking legal assistance and much negotiation with the City, this dispute has been resolved. Earthlife Africa Johannesburg aims to have approval of this demonstration made an order of court this afternoon (Wed 7th Mar).

For more information, please contact:

Makoma Lekalakala: 082 682 9177
Ndivile Mokoena: 074 368 4341