Nuclear programme could burden future generations, committee told

Business Report 31 October 2012.

Nobody knew what the Energy Department’s nuclear power programme was going to cost and it could pan out as an exercise in “illusion, ignorance and delusion” which would burden future generations and could make the arms deal scandal appear trivial.

These were the words of nuclear power academic Stephen Thomas, who appeared before the finance standing and select committees yesterday at a hearing on the medium-term budget policy statement.

Thomas argued that nuclear energy had a troubled history in South Africa. In 1998 it was suggested that the pebble bed modular reactor would come on stream in 2003. “Nothing happened,” he charged.

His colleague, Earthlife Africa’s Tristen Taylor, told MPs nearly R10 billion in investment in the failed reactor had been poured down the drain…