WENTWORTH RESIDENTS SKEPTICAL OVER OPENING OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
By: Carly Van Der Westhuizen
Residents of the Wentworth community have mixed reactions to the possibility of having a nuclear power plant in the South Durban basin.
This comes after reports at a nuclear summit in Wentworth regarding the issue last week.
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) and Earthlife Africa held a nuclear energy summit with Russian environmentalist, Vladimir Slavyak, who for the past 25
years has been campaigning against nuclear energy.
He addressed the implications a nuclear power plant could have on the surrounding communities.
SDCEA environmental project officer for communication, energy and health, Noluthando Mbeje, pointed out that these plants take a minimum of 10 years to build which in turn is not
solving the current energy problem.
However, some residents argued that point as they believe that the plant has benefitted them thus far as they have not been affected by load shedding for the past two months.
Mbeje’s concerns are rather on the community as a whole.
“The South Durban Basin have enough industries like Engen, Sapref, and Mondi etc.
polluting the community,” said Mbeje.
She said that having a nuclear power plant which is rumoured to be sited at the Old International Airport, will add on to the pollution.
“What happens to all the toxic waste that remains toxic for thousands of years?” she asked.
The SDCEA asked for a broader call for transparency in the government’s plans for nuclear power plants, stating that the future is in the hands of the community and that the community
must stand together and conquer this plan.
However, some residents are still skeptical about it.
Community resident, Joelandis Kuppan said, “For years we have been trying to fight government about the pollution we receive from these industries and nothing has been done,
what is different about this one?”
Residents believe that government “does not care” and will still go ahead with their nuclear energy plans.