Regardless of your personal view on nuclear power, our government’s plan to build up to eight new nuclear reactors is one of the worst decisions it could make for our country’s future.
This has nothing to do with the risks involved in atomic energy. It has nothing to do with what happened at Fukushima or Chernobyl. It’s not even primarily about the huge potential – or make that the likelihood – for grand-scale corruption in a procurement of this size.
It has everything to do with killing economic growth and killing jobs.
Until the government tells us how much the nuclear deal will cost, how we plan to pay for it and how they intend to choose the preferred bidder, we cannot begin to entertain the notion of going down this path.
To date, government has refused to disclose any of these crucial details, which should certainly set the red lights flashing. But enough smart people have pieced together the information to give us a pretty clear idea of what we’d be in for. And it is simply unaffordable.
A build of this size and nature will be absolutely disastrous for South Africa’s economy, and particularly for the poor. Whichever funding model is chosen, you can rest assured that it will be paid for by the South African taxpayer, and that we can expect substantial tariff increases over many years.
This will see the poor priced out of legal electricity usage, it will see illegal connections sky-rocket, it will see an increase in non-payment (which is already dangerously high) and it will see energy-heavy industries like mining and manufacturing shedding many more jobs.
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