Thursday, August 23, 2007

Civic group urges greater public involvement in energy policy

Civic group urges greater public involvement in energy policy
By: Mariaan Olivier

Newly formed Coalition Against Nuclear Energy (CANE), which opposes government's nuclear expansion plans, urged the State on Wednesday to commit to greater public participation in energy planning.

The Department of Minerals and Energy released the draft nuclear energy policy and strategy for public comment earlier this month. This document outlined government’s plans to become globally competitive in the nuclear industry, touching on issues of uranium beneficiation, enrichment and reprocessing of spend nuclear fuel.

“Not just Cabinet alone, but all sectors together should decide on energy policy in South Africa,” said CANE in a statement.

Cane has been formed as an umbrella group comprising community organisations, residents' associations, NGOs, academics, professionals, unionists, environmentalists and ordinary citizens.

It stated that seven sites have been chosen for new nuclear reactors, and that various areas around the country had been identified for uranium prospecting and mining, including vast tracts of the Karoo and Magaliesburg also in the North West province.

"Everyone in South Africa will now face the same danger from Koeberg nuclear power station,” CANE said.

The group added that it did not support the construction of new nuclear reactors as a way of tackling the climate crisis.

“Available renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power."


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