Two writers share their views and defend a recent article which highlighted Janine Myburgh of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry defending nuclear power. Picture: Reuters
Two writers share their views and defend a recent article which highlighted Janine Myburgh of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry defending nuclear power. Picture: Reuters

LETTER: Nuclear is cleanest, safest and most affordable

By Opinion Time of article published Dec 5, 2020

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The letters below are in response to the following article in the Cape Argus, “Cape Chamber of Commerce head draws flak for support of nuclear energy”:

LETTER: Nuclear is cleanest, safest and most affordable

by Andrew Kenny

I am pleased that Janine Myburgh of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports nuclear power (“Row over nuclear power”, Argus, 1 Dec 2020). Nuclear power is by far our best option for the future electricity generation we desperately need. It is clean, safe and affordable – the most affordable of all energy sources.

Koeberg, the best power station in South Africa history, has provided us with clean, safe, reliable, cheap electricity since 1984. We need more Koebergs. By contrast, wind and solar, forced upon us by REIPPPP, the renewable energy programme, have burdened us with the most expensive electricity in South African history, and the worst – although no doubt it has made huge profits for rich renewable power companies.

Around the world, as more and more renewables are added to the grid, the final price of electricity goes up and up. France, getting over 75% of her electricity from nuclear, has much lower electricity prices than Germany and Denmark, which get a large fraction of theirs from renewables.

It so happens that nuclear power does reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and renewables do not. Replacing nuclear with renewables has made Germany the biggest emitter of CO2 in Europe. But CO2 is a wonderful, safe, nourishing, without which life on Earth would perish. It is a feeble greenhouse gas, already saturated in its only significant absorption band, and has never been seen to have any noticeable effect on global temperatures. But it promotes plant life, and it is now at very low levels in the life of our planet. We need more. Nuclear will not give us more, but nuclear is otherwise our best source of future energy.

NOTES:

1. REIPPPP: Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme

2. Eskom is now forced to pay 215 cents/kWh for REIPPPP. Eskom’s average selling price is about 90 cents/kWh. But it is much worse than this. Eskom has also to pay a fortune to convert the useless, unreliable, wildly fluctuation renewable electricity into useful electricity.

3. The Earth’s EMF radiation peaks in the IR. Here carbon dioxide has only one significant absorption band, at 15 micron. It is already saturated at the peak. Adding more CO2 in theory should have little effect. In practice it seems to have no effect.

* Andrew Kenny, Sun Valley

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

LETTER: Most pleasing to see the correct and sensible comments of Myburgh

by Dr Kelvin Kemm

An article in the Cape Argus quoted Cape Chamber of Commerce head Janine Myburgh when she supported nuclear power. It was most pleasing to see the correct and sensible comments of Myburgh. But it was a pity that the Cape Argus journalist then saw fit to publish only anti-nuclear responses from the extremist anti-nuclear lobby. This is something like asking only the florist and the baker to comment on Groote Schuur open-heart surgery techniques.

Myburgh was being sensible for business and industry, which in turn means for the good of the entire country.

I love the comment of Myburgh: “Let’s play with a full deck of cards, including nuclear. Then we will know which system gives us more sizzle for our steak so that we can keep the kitchen of our economy operating 24/7.” That is exactly the correct sentiment. If you want the steak to sizzle you had better have reliable electricity… all day, not only when the sun shines or the wind blows. If you want Cape Town Harbour to operate all day, you had better have reliable big electricity running all the time.

Myburgh also managed to point out the entire business basis of the wind and solar frenzy; and that is this inordinate fear of carbon dioxide, the gas that we all breathe out all day.

More and more, science is indicating that carbon dioxide is not a problem at all, and that the slight global warming which has been observed since the rule of King Shaka, seems to be totally natural and is linked to cyclic magnetic activity in the sun.

But the extreme green lobby do not want to hear that there is a natural explanation, and that it is no problem. They want industry to be to blamed, so that they can force a change in society to develop ‘decentralised energy’ which is under the control of the ‘people’ and not large organisations like Eskom. The ‘decentralized energy’ path is a route to control general economic growth. In fact, to limit economic growth, supposedly in the interests of ‘the recovery of the planet’.

The Cape Argus quoted an activist saying that no small modular reactors are currently available. That is not true. South Africa developed a world-leading design, the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) and was ready to start construction in 2008. Since then, a second South African design was developed by a private team. It is the HTMR-100 and is a simpler, cheaper version of the PBMR. It can be constructed faster right here in South Africa, using South African technology.

* Dr Kelvin Kemm, nuclear physicist and CEO of Stratek Business Strategy Consultants, Pretoria.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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