Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

The unrevealed costs of nuclear power

July 30, 2017

The nuclear industry lies about its impacts. Why – because, originally, it relied on the arms race. However, Mayak, Chernobyl and Fukushima have taught us,that the IAEA cannot contain a major nuclear disaster. These are only three of the disasters that have been identified. There are many more including Sellafield/Windscale in the UK.

However, these are the impacts of failed built reactors.

Let’s step back to where the fuel is mined and its impacts on communities, ecologies and the miners themselves.

In mining uranium there is a 1 to 9 recovery of the highly volatile metal – 1 kilo of uranium is useable and 9 are put into tailings damns. These are unmarked and can be giving giving geiger counter readings of well over the allowed impacts per day never mind per annum.

The miners are checked monthly for health impacts by the mining company they work for – they are not told why. They have no medical aid, no pensions or any other support. Why not? They are mere commodities mining the ore. As they inhale Radon Gas and the fine dust in the mine, which contains Volatile Uranium isotopes and Radium, they are being poisoned. Eventually, they are found to be unable to work for the mine.

They are boarded and hung out to die.

Now let’s look at the communities around the mine. Many of them have the women and children of the miners involved. Children are born deformed physically and mentally; their mothers’ DNA unravels. Eventually the females in the community can no longer produce children at all. Which made be a release.

More than this, the local water, air and land use is polluted by radiation. The mine uses coal-powered power stations to produce the uranium.

It doesn’t stop here however because uranium goes through two further processes to produce the nuclear rods for the power stations. Both of them work on the same 1-9 ratio and use coal fired power to produce the require results. The processes produce more tailings dams, more water , air and ecosystem pollution. This all happens before a nuclear power station has been built

People are dying right along the the way – but they are only miners and low income communities.

No they are not – they are exploited like they do not matter by wealthy mining companies. This has to stop.

If the IAEA cannot solve Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl, it should be held to account for genocide in the ICC and all nuclear build be stopped.

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The Silver Snake of Death

October 29, 2016

I was born on the 31 December 1946 at 22:20. My mother assured me later that she had carried me through the Victory over Japan celebrations. Well I should have been a baby elephant as those happened on the 15th September 1945!

As a toddler, I walked with my parent and grandparents from 1 Argyle Avenue Mosside Manchester across town to see aunts. I saw the sea of grey ash which was all that remained on those areas destroyed in Hilter’s Blitz. 7 Terrace houses stood out. The Aunts lived in the middle one. Over the way stood Man United’s stadium.

We could walk there safely

However, the US Command had to take revenge on Japan for Pearl Harbour, even though the Emperor of Japan and his ministers were suing for peace. To prove their power, they dropped the atomic bomb on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

What do Hiroshima and Nagasaki bring up for you?

Blackened remains of those vapourised in the explosions? The destruction of two cities and most of their inhabitants?

In fact, do you even know of Shinkolobwe? Have you any idea of where it is or what happens there? It is here that the uranium was mined for these bombs. Polluting forever the pristine rivers of Katanga – now the DRC.

This cost the life of Patrice Lumumba, who was murdered in 1960.

I have so much sorrow in my heart around nuclear and uranium mining.

Now I can start to tell you why.

I will move to South Africa, where my real education started. We have a mining waste belt in South Africa stretching from Virginia and Welkom in the Free State to Nigel in Gauteng. The mining dumps from the gold mines also contain uranium, as both were mined together. Initially the uranium was simply dumped. Then, in 1952, the government discovered a useful export market to the USA , France and UK. So they began enriching the uranium to access this market. This produces even more radioactive waste. Probably stored on the mining dumps, because, after all only blacks live there.

I failed to tell you that this is the worldwide story – indigenous peoples are those most affected and destroyed by uranium mining. They are then discarded and left to die.

However the wheels fell of when sanctions came in in 1982. No more exports, so the Nats dumped 60 000 tons of uranium on the mine dumps. A fine radioactive power, blowing in the wind, together with the release of radium and, more importantly, odourless, colourless Radon gas – a toxic combination designed to create a crime against humanity.

No-one has been held accountable for this. The ANC government has made no attempt to rectify the situation. In fact their relationships with the various mining companies including the Gupta family, who own an uranium mine, leave their intentions very suspect.

Children are dying in our mining waste areas, they are being born deformed, people are dying on breathing in fine dust and finally suffocating. The cancer takes longer.

This cost of nuclear has never, ever been included in the cost of nuclear anywhere in the world. Nor have the costs of closing down a working reactor and storing the waste ever been included.

Then we have Fukushima and Windscale – both too radioactive to address.

Ladies and gentlemen – is nuclear truly a safe, clean and cheap source of power?

Nuclear has many dead and dying people, ecosystems and water sources as its legacy. It has a extremely bad record for not delivering on budget and on time.

I await your answer

A disarranged politely post the municipal elections

August 7, 2016

We have moved into a brave new world.  The structures that we thought were solid have dissolved away. It’s beyond scary.

Unless you are over 50 years old.

Change is the only constant, as I have learnt. Change comes from those who are brave enough to innovate, to produce challenging ideas and risk putting them into place. Many of us failed massively in the 1960s around Vietnam, however we made a move and some died.

Now I sit and look at how how dinosaurs of my age hold onto their power. Most world leaders and especially African ones hang onto their power.  I am not yet 70 however power has no meaning for me. Maybe because I am a woman and I want to nurture not do power over.

We have so many options and we have so many arrogant and oppressive oligarchs and patriarchs suppressing their people.

The four women who stood up last night at the EIC meeting were magnificent.  I applaude them

What are we letting ourselves be led into by government and traditional capitalist industries? Thoughts on breaking outdated “traditions” and encouraging communities to bring about change May 2015

May 18, 2015

Why should someone in their late sixties care about what is happening in South Africa with an overwhelming passion?  A passion that drives me into writing down my thoughts and talking to various people and communities until they are:

1. Bemused

2. Confused

3. Bored

4. Inspired

One or all of the above and, optimistically, I fly when the choice is Inspired! The answer is very simple.  Communities matter and so do the links in them.  Worldwide, government has become separated from people and the communities that they live in, to the extent that those communities have themselves been destroyed.  This was the stated intention of the industrial revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century.  This faltered in the 1840s with the start of various revolutionary movements in Europe and the ending of legal slavery in the northern hemisphere.

Please note that slavery has not been eliminated anywhere in the world. In fact, it is currently as bad if not worse than it used to be.

Further developments occurred with the Russian October Revolution and Mao’s Long March in China from October 1934 to 1935.  The latter  finally resulted in the takeover of China by Mao’s Communist Party.  In the meantime, worker actions , through the growing labour movements, were changing conditions in the northern hemisphere.  The latter has hardly affected the southern hemisphere. Instead, what has happened, since the 1939-45 “World” War, has been the strong rise of international companies whose political influence on political parties, through the use of funding and patrimony, has resulted in these entities being placed in law with similar powers to real people.  This has happened without them assuming the responsibilities that people have to embrace. This omission is key to what is happening throughout the world.  The international corporates “own” the politicians and are in a position to dictate the outcomes they require in order to prosper.  this has produced the unease and rebellion that we have been seeing especially in the northern hemisphere, where the power of the 1% has been highlighted by the deprived 99%.  Only Iceland had the nerve to make the truly creative decisions which have left that country’s people free of shouldering the debts of the banks and others, whose exploitation could have ruined them.

Nowhere is so exploited by these corporates as the southern hemisphere countries and especially Africa.  The united greed, and the pacts signed between the greedy and the communities, rendered communities indigent, whilst resources are plundered.  The communities are decried as lazy and backward.  Their lifestyles are rubbished.  Yet, prior to this invasion, they were self-sustaining and healthy. Does something sound wrong here? Yes – you have been aware of this happening in south Africa for the past 135 years and, most notably, in the last 21 years.

Since South Africans canned apartheid, we have been able to see the truth of how mining and other companies exploit us for their gain.  Entire communities have been and are being destroyed so that minerals can be extracted. Once extracted, they are removed and sold to profit the mining companies with little or no return to either our government or the affected communities. Entire eco-systems are destroyed. Perhaps I ought to define “eco-systems” because many people think concern about them is “bunny/tree hugging”.  This merely demonstrates the anti-climate change propagandists’ lies, spread to justify their destruction of the planet so that they can extract every last resource from the earth with impunity.  Harsh words?  Yes they are and for good reasons.

What is an Eco-System?

Very simply, an eco-system composes everything in it.  So a village is an eco-system as is a forest or a river.  It includes everything that depends on it or exists within it.  Thus, human beings cannot exist without the systems that sustain them. Many of us live in large towns or cities and rely on food bringing brought into to the local shops so that we can eat and drink.  Therefore, we are reliant on the farming eco-systems in the countryside, which is often disparagingly described as the “hinterland”.  Our country cousins are often disregarded as not as intelligent as we are. Are they really?  Can we do without their nurturing efforts in producing the food we rely on? When we stop and consider this, then we start to realise that we are vulnerable.  Urban farming is the new fad as a result.  City folks are going back to nature to ensure their sustainability. Whilst we let government and corporates deprive our food producers of their land and leave them destitute, so that the resources can be extracted and removed without compensation.

A Picture of the future

John Donne stated in the 17th century that “No man is an island”.  Nothing has changed since then.  Regrettably, there are those who believe that it has and they will be unaffected by the consequences of their greed. So, where to start? It is simple really.  what is the most important thing in our lives without which we cannot survive?

WATER?

What is happening to South Africa’s water? (Just to bring things back home). Already 98% of our available water is allocated (or was two years ago).  We have no updated facts on this and many more Water Use Licence (WULs) have been granted to mining projects in particular.  Our conurbations are growing by around 2.4% per annum and water consumption by 1.4%.  (Figures drawn from Councillor Parks Tau’s State of the City 2015).  the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation maintains that up to 40% of all potable water being delivered to users is stolen or lost. Why is water lost?  Very simply because our infrastructure is failing due to age.

The maintenance and expansion of the infrastructure could and should be the source of many jobs.  Yet it is ignored and neglected.  The same goes for the waste water infrastructure. Our rivers, streams and catchments are becoming more and more polluted.  Sewage is only one input.  Acid Mine Drainage water, which is not only an historical burden, but a constant one from the new mines, also contributes.  Waste from the streets and general dumping also increase pollution.  Fracking will increase the burden.

We are running out of usable water FAST. That is not the only tragedy.  Poor water quality results in sick people and animals.  Yet neither the Department of Health or of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests appear to be in the least concerned. We are short of “jobs” and yet all of the above are crying out for people to rectify the problems.  The same is true for our roads.

Who has failed us?

I will now postulate that the alliance between governments and internationals corporates, which run s on self-enrichment and self-interest, is the biggest threat that we face.  They haven’t failed us.  We have failed ourselves by sleeping whilst they line their pockets and declare us lazy and undeserving.

What can we do – here and now?

Wake up!  We can rebuild our shattered communities and start a revolution of personal job creation that grows cooperation and repairs the neglect.

Many others are writing about the impacts on our water resources and how South Africa will become water deprived.  Can we take control and change this as communities?

I believe that we can and we must.

Uranium Mining Impact on Health and the Environment 04102013 Tanzania

October 13, 2013

National Environment Management Council (NEMC)

This presentation was not particularly consoling.  The occurrence of Uranium in Tanzania  is seen as economically viable.  They have both Uranium235 and Uranium 238 occurring (this is totally to be expected).  The first can be used for nuclear weapons and for nuclear power plants and the second for using as a radiation shielding material.  (The latter is fallacious).

The risks related to Uranium are that it targets the kidneys and the lungs.  It was realised that the impacts of mining and producing yellow cake are very negative as the pollution takes the form of being solids (tailing rock waste), liquid (water pollution) and gaseous (Radon).

Two companies have been registered to open mines – Mantra in two cases and Uranex in one.

NEMC oversees the process of the EIAs, writes standards and ensures compliance.  It also co-operates with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.

The Mkuju river project (Mantra) is deeply flawed and in conflict with UNESCO’s WHC conditions.  This resulted in an engagement in March 2012 to have to area deproclaimed as a World Heritage Site.  The Tanzanian Government has imposed conditions to keep the operation clean and safe.

Author’s comment

Unfortunately, the Tanzanian Government has no comprehension of the impacts of mining Uranium.  They believe that it is inert until processed into fuel rods.

Health Aspects and Uranium – Mining Regulations in the USA – Prof Doug Brugge

The USA has mined Uranium since 1940 and in South West America there is radioactivity which people are still trying to clean up.  It affects children, animals – in fact everything.  There are very high levels of Radon gas in houses in the area, which means that at least 7 people in the area suffer from lung cancer per community.  The Uranium workers were compensated for illnesses and death by US$824 million for some 8000 workers.

The Uranium ore contains Radium, Arsenic, Thorium and ionising radiation elements.  The impacts include kidney damage and developmental defects in humans and animals.  There is damage to the uterus in females as well as DNA damage.  A study of Namibian miners uncovered DNA damage and a studying the Karros County of Texas looking at people living near the Uranium mines uncovered similar problems.  In fact genes are changed by exposure to Uranium.  It gets into the brain and causes behaviour changes.  Additional problems include hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease, plus weakening of the autoimmune system.

Scientists are now studying the effects of Gamma radiation as well.  In addition, there are growing concerns around the number of abandoned Uranium mining sites worldwide where communities are exposed to the impacts of radiation.  The real challenge is to establish the exact exposure of such communities to Uranium and Radioactivity plus Radium.  However there is a growing body of research evidence that such exposure leads to highly negative health impacts.

Uranium Mining and Health – Impacts on Miners and the Public by Hilma Shindondola-Mote, Namibia

In 1976 the Rossing Mine was opened in Namibia with promises of riches for the miners.  This promise proved fallacious and the miners discovery extreme poverty and loss of health as well.  The mining companies are profit orientated and drive the miners to produce mercilessly, plus they ignore the impacts on the local community.  From 2008 onwards, the miners are falling sick from cancers.  Their only protection is hard hats, glasses, boots and overalls.  No protection from inhaling Radon is given.

In 2008 a report was released called “The Mystery behind Low-Level Radiation”.  The doctors at the mine said that radiation was too low to cause sickness.  However the workers denied this as they were and are sick.  This situation has not been assisted by the fact that Namibia has not signed many of the Conventions around Uranium mining, radiation and nuclear, so feels no need to comply.

The Profundo Study declared that “All Uranium miners are badly affected”.  However the mine says that the workers are falling sick because of their life styles (this is common statement in the Uranium/Nuclear industry).  Mine doctors say that the workers are healthy and force them back to work.  In some cases they put them on “Work separation leave” without explanation.  The mining company takes no responsibility for workers falling sick after leaving the mine and the workers’ health files are withheld from them.

In Arendis, the local town housing the mining community, the children are suffering from allergies as are the women.  There is a real need for an in-depth study.

Minister of Health for Tanzania

He made a statement that mining in has become safer and better regulated.  New regulation will make this certain.  He intends to strengthen environmental awareness, health requirements and the rehabilitation of mining sites on closure.

Impact of Uranium on Living Organisms – Prof Urs Ruegg

The major impact of Uranium is on the kidneys, as it develops faster.  In the years 2010 and 2012 there has been a notable increase in problems with renal failure resulting in the need for dialysis.  5% of Uranium is ingested, whilst the rest is inhaled.  Uranium destroys the kidney’s filtration processes.  There have been a number of epidemiological studies done around the results of drinking water containing Uranium.  The one in South Carolina, conducted between 1996-2005, concluded that this resulted in increased levels of renal and other cancers.  A similar study in Bavaria, between 2002-2008, found similar results.  The real barrier to ongoing studies is that the instrument used for the tested is very costly and requires a specialist to operate it.

This begs the question as to who meets the costs especially after the mine has been closed.  These are the externalised costs of nuclear never mind Uranium mining (my comment).

It can be concluded that Uranium in drinking water can induce renal carcinoma.

Tanzanian Atomic Commission Presentation

This was short and full of good intentions.  I felt deeply saddened

Uranium Mining – Impacts on Miners and the Public – Dale Dewar MD Canada

He first became involved in studying the effect of Uranium mining and milling in 1991 in Saskatchewan involving 6 active and one “decommissioned” mine.  His studies between 1991 and 1993 exposed lupus as a major health problem.  By 2013, the studies proved that Uranium milling is a causative effect in contracting lupus.

No heavy metal has any biological benefits for any living being.  The chemicals used in Uranium mining and milling include Ammonium Carbonate and Sulphuric Acid, rendering the polluted water unrecoverable.  The entire
Uranium decay chain is highly toxic and Uranium can only be removed from water using reverse osmosis.

Bottom line – Uranium is not healthy for any living thing!

Tuberculosis in Miners – Robert Mtonga MD Zambia

This is the worst public health epidemic that countries are facing today.  It is associated with:

  • Poverty
  • Conflict
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Mining

And it runs with diabetes and cancers.

The drivers are

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Mining
  • Poverty
  • Drugs

Mining companies are very bad wage payers; the working environment is unsafe and no or poor protective clothing is supplied.  Miners do not have regular medical check ups because “Mining is a business not a charity”.

TB is a disease of poverty and one third of new cases relate to mining.  In 2011 there were 2.3 million new cases and 220 000 deaths in Africa.  Anywhere else this would be a health emergency.  In South Africa in 2011 there were 760000 new cases.

We must remember that miners are:

  • Young and productive
  • They have poor working conditions
  • Overcrowded accommodation
  • Poor wages that result in malnutrition
  • Poor health facilities
  • Poor education
  • Poor labour laws
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Please for help fall on deaf ears (bribery and corruption plus political expediency)

Prevention is better than cure!

Uranium and its influence on the Renal System – Andreas Uhl Switzerland

Enriched Uranium is used mainly for nuclear weapons only 10% is used for energy.  It is sourced from Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, USA, SA, Namibia and Tanzania.  The Wismut Uranium mine in East Germany was totally dismantled after 1990 at a very high cost.  The following health problems arise from Uranium Mining:

  • Uranium
    • Renal problems
    • Tumours
    • Leukaemia
    • Radon
      • Lung Cancer
      • Tracheal cancers
      • Dust
        • Silicosis
        • Multi organ cancers
        • Organic compounds
          • Allergies
          • Rashes
          • Immune system reactions
          • Target organs
            • Kidney
            • Bones
            • Brain/Central Nervous System
            • Immune System
            • Eyes
            • Blood
            • Respiratory system
            • Liver
              • Gastroenteritis
  • Skin
  • Cardiovascular
  • DNA
  • Reproductive system
  • Chemicals
    • Motor oil
    • Modified cellulose
    • This includes bacteriacides
    • Modicide is also toxic
    • Cashew nut shell oil which contains a compound similar to poison ivy and causes eczema

Geology and Mining in East Germany Prof Thomas Seifert Germany

Mining was stopped in 1990 when the Russians left however Uranium Mining started in 1932 in Saxony and the Wismut mine was mined for Uranium from 1946-1990.  It was heavily exploited by the USSR and entire villages were destroyed as well as huge waste rock dumps being created.  It has to be noted the granite also contains “Uranium and is radioactive.

Mali’s experience with Uranium Mining – Nouhom Keita ARAFC

The Malians see Uranium mining as very dangerous so they have mobilised rapidly against it.  ARAFC’s objectives are to support and promote local development and human resources to help the communities to build capacity.  Their strategy is to support all organisations involved and the methods used are to ensure access to information for the communities and the miners from the government and the mining companies.

The Falea community is remote and easily cut of especially in the rainy season.  In fact many people in Mali do not know that it exists even though it is where mining is taking place.They make use of satellite communications to be heard by the rest of the world.  They have now put out a call for Uranium mining to be stopped altogether, breaking a taboo against speaking out.

The mine has destroyed the cultural and heritage activities of the community as well as the local agriculture.  The Vice President of the Regional Council has declared that Malians have been lied to and he is not afraid to expose this to the government and everyone else.  He sees Uranium mining as slow genocide.

Mining in Niger – Solli Ramatou

Uranium mining began here in 2006 and Niger needs to mobilise and assist Mali as well.  The Niger mines have not closed and the communities have to prove that uranium mining is dangerous to health.  They have deformed babies being born and these births are covered up and concealed.  There is a total cover up around the health impacts on the communities and the miners, plus there is increasing rationing and privatisation of water.

 

Uranium Mining Impact on Health and the Environment 05102013 Tanzania

Economic, Social and Political Aspects

Market Situation on U as a source of Energy – Prof Andreas Nidecker Switzerland

Production countries

Kazakhstan is the major producer. Namibia’s mine is shutdown currently. In 2007 there were plans to increase production as demand was expected to be 85000 tonnes then came Fukushima

In the U market if the supply and demand are equal this should raise the price.

Today demand is dropping.  Originally it was driven by the Cold War demand for weapons.  Since this ended the production has gone down.

200097-2009 production lagged behind.   Currently there is an oversupply of U in the market and the price has dropped.

U Participation corporate recommendations in 2008 predicted price rise but they are project a rise in demand which is not happening.  As nuclear weapons are dismantled the highly enrichment U can be down grade for fuel production.

Market is unpredictable

World Nuclear Assoc update in 2013 – indicates that the prediction of demand is incorrect as it is dropping.  Yet the world’s mining production is expanding.  The countries involved should look at the global demand side before committing themselves… Price is now $35 per tonne.  Production costs are $35 – 40 per tonne.  Not viable.

Production and Demand projections before Fukushima indicated a need to increase.  Latest scenarios indicate very differently.  The U industry only concerned with itself and not with alternatives impact.

World Nuclear Assoc is still saying that U market will change, but this is also pre-Fukushima.

In May 2013 Rossing was put into care and maintenance due to bad financial state of the company. Rio Tinto is thinking of selling it.

What are the U customers doing?

Weapons – being destroyed, so the demand is fading away.

Nuclear power plants – the global chart of plants is shrinking.  WISE report of July 2013 and reactors being built may never be completed.

More reactors are being shutdown than being built on an annual basis.  The costs have risen fourfold in the last 10 years.  Trend is to have fewer reactors operating.  Nuclear investments are considered risky including U mining.

In the US nuclear is being replaced by natural gas.

2013 Alternatives – renewables are replacing nuclear and global investment is rising rapidly.  Nuclear is dying and it is the fossil way to produce electricity.  Even China is producing more power via solar than nuclear.

Q: how does fracking affect this?

A: We must look at sustainability and environmental impacts and fracking has its own risks.  He is focused on the impact of radionuclides on environment.  The latter also pollute in this way.

Q: Niger is planning a water cooled reactor

A: Unfortunate.  Download the World Nuclear Energy Status Report and query government as to why they want to go-ahead with outdated and expensive technology.  Inform governments of the alternatives and the trends.

Point made that solar uses rare earths and this also has negatives however these are less than nuclear.  This must be done with foresight and care.

Dialogue again and again between activists

Dialogue to find out how to get the message to government – either name to shame or engage and understand and intervene

Dialogue on the strategies and the issues so that we talk with power and conviction. 

45 Years of U Mining in the heart of Europe, power and politics against man and nature – Sebastian Pflugbeil, President German Society for Radiation Protection

During the secret investigations into mining he was arrested and his files taken as well as his phone.  In 1998 he was in the revolution that broke the secrecy of German politics in the area of nuclear and U mining.  From 1999 he fought against the laws that promotes nuclear.

WISMUT was the large largest U mining facility in the world and was being used to mine U for nuclear weapons.   Huge negative environmental and human health impacts are experienced.

The mine was Russian run and the casualties amongst the miners in 1946 were severer.

These health effects have continued until today.  Workers’ sicknesses were no recognised as being the result of their occupation.  Only around 60 people were compensated – this in a democratic country which does not want to pay out.

As in dictatorships as in democracy which is disappointing.  Further health problems created by Chernobyl and they are the same as those found in U mining.   Both non-cancerous and cancerous diseases result from Chernobyl and U mining.

A conspiracy of silence has prevented the truth coming out to the public.

The Soviet and East German secret services protected the problems in the mine so that Russia could develop its nuclear weapons as well as cover up the pollution from the mining.

This experience gives pause as to how such mining should be regulated in future.

They have had considerable problems in rehabilitating the site and the underground areas are not fixed.  Radiation protection is not perfect as the have used the East German rules which are less rigorous.  Costs so far are €6 billion which is far more than the U brought in income.  Extensive water pollution and no-one knows exactly what is affected in the aquifers.

Enrichment of  U – an Example: URENCO  between Power Plants and Nuclear Weapons – Dirk Seifert Germany

Actions taken by German activists against U enrichment because of their impacts on the environment and human health.  Many German companies are still involved in enrichment despite the Germans withdrawing from nuclear power.  Robin Wood has a long term campaign to close down the factories and they are informing the public about the dangers of enrichment and why it should stop.

8 reactors have been closed and the final 9 will be closed down by 2022.  The problem of closure and rehabilitation is not yet solved especially for high level waste.  These problems are growing exponentially.  No solutions are being found to handle the situation.

Experiences from SA – How the U economy affects Africa Dr David Fig

Katanga produced the U for the atom bombs dropped on Japan.  Then SA U was exclusively and secretly purchased for the US and UK nuclear weapons programmes.  U is a by-product on gold mining. 

Nuclear for peace programme meant that the US donated research reactors to DRC and SA, possibly Egypt as well. Niger’s U was taken by France for its nuclear weapons programme.

Because U was being supplied to the U”S and UK, SA was not stopped from the apartheid regime and the regime also started building nuclear weapons.  In addition, SA controlled Namibia and it gained a share in the RTZ Rossing mine, which is an opencast mine

U price was stable until 2002 when it rose steeply, but after 2005 it declined rapidly.  This is mirrored by the share price of Paladin an Australian mining company.    At the moment the price trend is downward.

Why did the price rise?

1                     Looked like oil was becoming scarce as we were at “peak oil”

2                     The U stockpile was in depleted post Chernobyl and Five Mile Island

3                     End of the cold war and the arms race.  Weapons were reused

4                     Mines experienced difficulties with floods which made them unable to supply

5                     Industry tried to talk the price up because there was to be a renaissance

2007 global financial crisis caused drop in U price as economic decline decreased need for power.  3/3/2011 Fukushima disaster set off a rethink around nuclear.  The results have not been controlled to date.  Countries started rejecting plans to expand and in fact phase out nuclear.  Germany, Switzerland and Italy voted to close their nuclear plants down and Japan has closed down its nuclear fleet.

China and Russia are saying they are slowing down their build programme.

US found that nuclear is becoming too expensive and four reactors are closing down.  Brazil has cancelled orders for new nuclear reactors. More are now being closed than built.  The Economist calls it the “dream that failed”.

This is reflected in the fortunes of AREVA and other nuclear corporations.   Its new EPR reactor is proving difficult to build with huge delays with huge cost overruns.  AREVA bought up other U mining companies and in many cases paid way too much.  They reported huge losses and the assets were downgraded in value.  SO they closed many of the mines and lay off workers.  AREVA is in trouble as is Paladin.

Nuclear fuel cycle and the problem of waste disposal are unsolved.  During apartheid, SA generated weapons.

U one mined and milled U to yellow cake and then generated UF2 gas.  The enrichment plant is a Val indaba with fuel fabrication at Melinda.  AREVA built the Koeberg reactors 24km from Cape Town.  This is the fruit and wine production area and an accident would destroy them.

Low level waste is dumped in Vaalputs as is the intermediate level waste.  It has been closed down twice by the NNR.  High level waste is without a solution at present.  They are currently stored in ponds close to the reactor.

In 1990 SA closed down the weapons programme and shredded the documents in order to protect those involved.  All that was left were the 2 reactors plus the elderly research reactor.

The short life of the PBMR which never worked and was abandoned in 2010.

SA’s nuclear plans:

  • 6 new reactors
  • Smelter
  • Reopen enrichment plant
  • Nuclear police force
  • Reprocessing plant

Huge opposition to this because it will raise the price of electricity so it’s not just NGOs who are opposing it but also industry.

Creation of TSUNAMI in January 2013 which is an alliance of concern communities and NGOS etc.

SA nuclear industry is leading the push for nuclear in Africa.

The catalogue of problems far outweigh the short term profits as there are no solutions to the impacts of U mining and nuclear.  The costs are for the country not for the mining companies.

Africa needs a smarter strategy than nuclear.  We need to demonstrate that the alternatives are far more viable and safer.

U mining economic aspects from exploration to rehabilitation – Gunter Wippple, uranium-network, Germany

Two kinds of cost – monetary and social.  The latter are heavier.

Mines indicated for Tanzania are open pit, which include blasting and raising of a lot of dust, which will include U in it. Once u is out of the ground, it can never be contained again safely.

The waste rock and other waste products remain radioactive for millions of years.  NO such thing as rehabilitation.  Even reclamation does not work either.

German study of the cost of mine closure and reclamation.  The costs are difficult to define – anything between $4 and $46 per ton. The costs far outstrip the income from mining.  This makes U mining completely untenable for Tanzania.

Mining companies avoid paying for the closure costs so it becomes the responsibility of the government which often does not have sufficient funds or the political will.

Even in the US, Germany and France reclamation does not work.

Complete toxic and radioactive waste left everywhere which impacts on the population who are unprotected.  The health impacts are enormous.

Mongolia Mining – Selenge Lkhagvajav Nuclear Safe Mongolia

Having a problem with AREVA, plus 24% of the country has been sold to companies for mining.  72% of the country is desertified because of mining and degradation and most of the water has completely dried up.  The government is going ahead with encouraging other countries to build power plants which were promoted by the USA.  Mongolia is also being used for storing nuclear waste from Japan in return for a nuclear power plant.  Also storing for South Korea and Taiwan so that they do not have to worry about it further.

A Green Party was established in June 2011 to oppose nuclear in Mongolia and prevent more storage of nuclear waste.  They started a petition and delivered over 6000 signatures to their government.  Even so the nuclear cooperation agreement has not been suspended.

Human Rights Aspects in Concerned Populations

Tanzania – Amani Mustafa HakiMadini

How does mining investment affect and influence internal politics?  Everyone wants to benefit from these investments and government tends to get into a dependant situation with the companies.  This weakens their relationship with the communites and also their ability to regulate.  It also encourages government to defend its pposition against all comers even by suppressing activists and communities.  The mining companies will support the government is being re-elected.

However mining gives big environmental challenges – it affects fishing, crops etc which are lost to the mining ventures..  NO large scale mining operation has looked at the effects on the population that it displaces and whom it impoverishes.  The impact on the women is particularly bad as they lose access to everything they originally supplied to the village plus access to water is llost.

Mining was sold as providing decent jobs, which it does not.  The mining companies oppose unions and they treat their workers very badly – life span reduced from 56 to 40.

Access to information is a problem and particularly around mining, including the mining planning.  Affected communities cannot findout how they will be affected.  In addition the media has been compromised by government and the mining companies.

Access to justice is very limited and people have very little access to finding out what their legal rights are.  The legal system is not actually working despite huge breaches of the constitution.  Looking to SA and India for precedents in obtain ECRS.  SA has already given a judgement pro affected communities and Tanzanian lawyers are looking at how to apply this in their country

The weak regulatory environment makes opposing U mining very difficult.  The mining companies are getting away with polluting and the communities are being abused with no action taken against the companies.

Decision to mine or not is purely political

There is a need to protect the environment and human life above money.  Past mining has not enriched the communities so why mine U which is highly destructive.

 

The Australian Experience – Dave Sweeney Australian Conservation Foundation

Australian Conservation Foundation sees no value in U mining and nuclear as it is slow and expensive plus highly dangerous

Australia has 35/40% of U reserves and it supplies a large amount of the world’s market.  However U is unique and high risk through ionising radiation and heavy metals. U industry is thirsty and dirty.

In Australia there is a tough and continuous struggle against the U industry and there have been significant and repeated successes.

Major win for Jeffrey Lee and Koongara – finally got this area folded into a national park in 2013.

Mines that were mined 50 years ago are still being cleaned up at taxpayers’ expense – not the mining companies.  Civil society is seen as the dissidents and the companies are OK.

Australia directly fuelled Fukushima.  Government and industry has refused to take any responsibility for this.  Big companies have withdraw or mothballed their operatins.  Small companies are trying to mine instead with neither the experience or the finanace.

U mining addresses climate change and jobs – myths, just a happening things.

Experience from Bahi – Anthony Lyamunda CESOPE

He has no presentation and he wants his colleagues to speak on the issues.  They heard in 2007 of the possibility of a U mine in the area and they then sought information on what was intended.  They called on the international community to assist in their campaign.  Their farming has been affected as have their fish.  Mining will remove their independence and their pride.  It will destroy our health and the health of others.

Manyoni has problems with water resources and it will be mortally affected by U mining.  All the research has been done in the area where the water wells are.  So U mining will affect the water resource.

Huge impacts on farming, salt industry and fishing which are the main occupations here, so all this will be destroyed.  There are no obvious benefits to the community from U mining.  All that is being sold is monetary benefits to the government nothing else.

The issues only concern the leaders’ improvements not the communities. Biggest problem is that mining exploration is done in secret and activists are arrested for no reason.

Final Panel – the Way Forward

This will follow later

Going to Dar es Salaam

September 8, 2013

I am very grateful to my sponsors for making this possible as gaining more knowledge around uranium mining matters to me

The Smelters approved at Pelindaba for NECSA and the flaws in the approval

August 25, 2013

At a public meeting in Centurion last November, NECSA (the Nuclear Energy Company of South Africa) presented a flawed and inherently weak case for the approval of the intended smelter (more than one was not mentioned).  Upon being questioned about costs and impacts, the presenter was unable to give the meeting any idea of costs involved and who would be paying for the construction of the smelter.  The impacts were dismissed as irrelevant, as they would add little to the ambient radioactivity in the surrounding communities.

However the meeting was promised that the costings would be released to everyone present.  To date, no such thing has happened.

On Saturday 17th August at the Public Safety Information Forum, The National Nuclear Regulator announced that construction of the two smelters and cold commissioning had been approved.

This flies in the face of the presentations done by concerned communities and NGOs last year.  The smelter technology relies on HEPA filters not permitting radioactive particulate matter into the air. However, it was presented at the meeting, that HEPA filters do not meet this requirement.  International research has proved that they do not and cannot:

We start with Marion Fulk’s affidavits on HEPA filters – he is a US nuclear scientist and whistle-blower. His affidavits from court appearances and background on the Tri-Valley CARES cases have been studied and prove that the filters do not work correctly or safely. 

Clearly Hepa filters are very good at removing certain particle sizes – providing conditions are correct and lifetimes are not exceeded.

Our main concern is that while HEPA filters remove approximately 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger — there are TRILLIONS of particles in each cubic litre of air space.   Even though HEPA technology was specifically designed (in the 1950s) for removing radioactive particles from nuclear research labs, HEPA filters are only partially effective.  Particles that are smaller than about 0.3 microns go right through.  That’s one reason why radioactive elements are so dangerous — because these are released in the environment as individual atoms — not as a large particle of dust, or even as molecules.  They are too small to filter out. 

Finally to set the record straight – the failure of the smelter may be relatively localised in low wind conditions, although all radioactive substances will remain in our environment for ever, and are CUMULATIVE. The worst case scenario we referred to in our press release was a catastrophic failure at Pelindaba with Safari 1 and the spent fuel stored on site (Safari 1 is the oldest research reactor in the world that is still operating) The smelter may or may not be the catalyst in such an event, however, a failure of the smelter alone would be catastrophe enough…

And IMPORTANTLY: the NNR has IGNORED EVIDENCE and appears to HAVE FAILED IN ITS DUTY TO INVESTIGATE EVIDENCE IT SOLICITED IN THE Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and hearings process, and that it is playing with people’s lives by refuting, WITHOUT presenting evidence of its own, that it believes may credibly counter research presented to them, and the testimony of senior US nuclear scientists who risked their careers to come clean on the matter. These are strong points that need to be made!

Remember in all nuclear-related EIAs the environmental authority now rests solely with NNR as a result of its agreement with the Dept of Environment, so the public have no recourse unless the NNR is forced to justify itself, its actions and its licensing. Otherwise it is merely acting as a law unto itself, and above the law. This, clearly, is completely unconstitutional.

Into this scenario, we have to put the catastrophe at Fukushima.  This is now polluting the Pacific Ocean with 330 tonnes of radioactive water a day.  The Nuclear Industry has merely said that no deaths can be attributed to the explosions at Fukushima during the meltdown in February 2011.  This is where the Nuclear Industry has to be called to account, not only on Fukushima but also on Chernobyl.  The ongoing collateral damage from both incidents is discounted, just as the collateral damage from the dropping of the Atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima on the 6th August 1945. A well researched study by Russian scientists confirms that nearly one million people have or will die from the Chernobyl disaster.

A major HEPA filter failure also occurred in Turin in June 1998 and raised radiation levels to 1000 times greater than normal across France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Germany.  If required, we can compile a list of every HEPA filter failure.

The NECSA site at Pelindaba is less than 3 Kilometres from the boundary of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, which is a major tourist attraction.  A proposed smelter 40 Kilometres from the Yellowstone National Park, which is also a World Heritage Site, was turned down.  Are South African World Heritage sites of less value than others in the world?

In addition, the Pelindaba site puts many communities at risk.  Movement out of a disaster impact requires that many residents have to exit past the site into order to reach “safety”.  This is direct violation of IAEA best practice.  Note the wording here, the IAEA does not regulate – it merely recommends best practice.  Based on Chernobyl, Fukushima, San Onofre and Sellafield, can we actually trust the Nuclear Industry to follow best practice?

Smelters are also in violation of IAEA best practice, as containment and not dispersal is considered to be preferable.  Radioactive metals and other waste are recommended to be encapsulated for least impact and greatest safety. Th proposed process by the NNR plans exactly the opposite – the smelted metal will be sold as “scrap” with no controls into the local market, so your home could contain radioactive metal goods in the future – toys, utensils, belt buckles, and more. The Uk had an incident where a belt buckle was radioactive, and had to be recalled – the USA (also this year) had an incident with meal tissue boxes, that were also recalled – how will we know about this in our country?

Based on the excluded cost of nuclear, which are to be another posting, we are dealing with an industry which has no concern for human life, economics or ecosystems, and is totally self-absorbed, a law unto itself.

The Smelters approved at Pelindaba for NECSA and the flaws in the approval

August 24, 2013

The Smelters approved at Pelindaba for NECSA and the flaws in the approval

At a public meeting in Centurion last November, NECSA (the Nuclear Energy Company of South Africa) presented a flawed and inherently weak case for the approval of the intended smelter (more than one was not mentioned).  Upon being questioned about costs and impacts, the presenter was unable to give the meeting any idea of costs involved and who would be paying for the construction of the smelter.  The impacts were dismissed as irrelevant, as they would add little to the ambient radioactivity in the surrounding communities.

However the meeting was promised that the costings would be released to everyone present.  To date, no such thing has happened.

On Saturday 17th August at the Public Safety Information Forum, The National Nuclear Regulator announced that construction of the two smelters and cold commissioning had been approved.

This flies in the face of the presentations done by concerned communities and NGOs last year.  The smelter technology relies on HEPA filters not permitting radioactive particulate matter into the air. However, it was presented at the meeting, that HEPA filters do not meet this requirement.  International research has proved that they do not and cannot:

We start with Marion Fulk’s affidavits, on HEPA filters, he is the US nuclear scientist /whistle-blower. His affidavits from court appearances and background on the Tri-Valley CARES cases have been studied and prove that the filters do not work correctly or safely. 

Clearly Hepa filters are very good at removing certain particle sizes – providing conditions are correct and lifetimes are not exceeded.

Our main concern is that while HEPA filters remove approximately 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger — there are TRILLIONS of particles in each cubic litre of air space.   Even though HEPA technology was specifically designed (in the 1950s) for removing radioactive particles from nuclear research labs,HEPA filters are only partially effective.  Particles that are smaller than about 0.3 microns go right through.  That’s one reason why radioactive elements are so dangerous — because these are released in the environment as individual atoms — not as a large particle of dust, or even as molecules.  They are too small to filter out. 

Finally to set the record straight – the failure of the smelter may be relatively localised in low wind conditions, although all radioactive substances will remain in our environment for ever, and are CUMULATIVE. The worst case scenario we referred to in our press release was a catastrophic failure at Pelindaba with Safari 1 and the spent fuel stored on site (Safari 1 is the oldest research reactor in the world that is still operating) The smelter may or may not be the catalyst in such an event, however, a failure of the smelter alone would be catastrophe enough…

And IMPORTANTLY: the NNR has IGNORED EVIDENCE and appears to HAVE FAILED IN ITS DUTY TO INVESTIGATE EVIDENCE IT SOLICITED IN THE Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and hearings process, and that it is playing with people’s lives by refuting, WITHOUT presenting evidence of its own, that it believes may credibly counter research presented to them, and the testimony of senior US nuclear scientists who risked their careers to come clean on the matter. These are strong points that need to be made!

Remember in all nuclear-related EIAs the environmental authority now rests solely with NNR as a result of its agreement with the Dept of Environment, so the public have no recourse unless the NNR is forced to justify itself, its actions and its licensing. Otherwise it is merely acting as a law unto itself, and above the law. This, clearly, is completely unconstitutional.

Into this scenario, we have to put the catastrophe at Fukushima.  This is now polluting the Pacific Ocean with 3000 tonnes of radioactive water a day.  The Nuclear Industry has merely said that no deaths can be attributed to the explosions at Fukushima during the meltdown in February 2011.  This is where the Nuclear Industry has to be called to account, not only on Fukushima but also on Chernobyl.  The ongoing collateral damage from both incidents is discounted, just as the collateral damage from the dropping of the Atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima on the 6th August 1945.

A major HEPA filter failure also occurred in Turin in June 1998 and raised radiation levels to 1000 times greater than normal across France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Germany.  If required, we can compile a list of every HEPA filter failure.

The NECSA site at Pelindaba is less than 3 Kilometres from the boundary of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, which is a major tourist attraction.  A proposed smelter 40 Kilometres from the Yellowstone National Park, which is also a World Heritage Site, was turned down.  Are South African World Heritage sites of less value than others in the world?

In addition, the Pelindaba site puts many communities at risk.  Movement out of a disaster impact requires that many residents have to exit past the site into order to reach “safety”.  This is direct violation of IAEA best practice.  Smelters are also in violation of IAEA best practice, as containment and not dispersal is considered to be preferable.  Radioactive metals and other waste are recommended to be encapsulated for least impact and greatest safety.

Note the wording here, the IAEA does not regulate – it merely recommends best practice.  Based on Chernobyl, Fukushima, San Onofre and Sellafield, can we actually trust the Nuclear Industry to follow best practice?

Based on the excluded cost of nuclear, which is to be another posting, we are dealing with an industry which has no concern for ecosystems and is totally self-absorbed.

The Real Cost of Nuclear Power

August 24, 2013

The Real Cost of Nuclear Power

Uranium Mining

Today we are having nuclear power pushed down our South African throats as the only option to provide cheap, clean power to the grid.  This is hogwash quite frankly.

As with any mining operation, the externalised costs are completely omitted as are the impacts on ecosystems[1].  Nuclear power relies on the mining of uranium.  In South Africa, this is a by-product of mining gold. Elsewhere, uranium is generally mined alone.

The uranium in the ground is benign.  Yes, it emits radiation and that radiation has impacted the ecosystems for years with no ill effects.  However, once mining starts, a whole number of chemical reactions occur which completely change the situation.  Two major impacts are the release of radon gas into the atmosphere and radioactive dust being released as well.  The latter coats the clothes of the miners and they often take it home to their families.  Both are inhaled, not just by the miners, but by the surrounding communities and the miners’ families.

The inhalation of radioactive nuclides causes lung diseases and the passage of those nuclides into the blood stream.  This opens up the recipient to cancer and also can impact on DNA.  The latter impact can result in malformed foetuses and sterility.

In addition, for every kilo of uranium extracted, 99 kilos of radioactive rock is dumped into tailings dams.  These are exposed to the air and the rain, consequently producing radioactive acid mine drainage water that pollutes the surrounding rivers and streams.  The air borne dust and radon gas further compromise the air quality of the region and also the quality of the agricultural land.  This results in the ingestion of polluted crops by the surrounding communities, further compromising health.

 Oh and did I mention that conventional coal power is used to produce the uranium?  Well in most places it is.  As are huge amounts of water which is heavily polluted and returned to the rivers and streams, producing water scarcity.

Uranium Beneficiation[2]

Well, once the ore has been brought to the surface, it has to undergo two further processes.  The first turns it into yellow cake by extracting the ore from the surrounding rock. This is called milling.  This is done either by using sulphuric acid or alkaline agents to extract it.  99.9% of the waste is stored as chemically aggressive, toxic and radioactive sludge in tailings dams.  These dams should be lined.  Water used in the process is also polluted with heavy metals and radioactive elements.

Next the uranium is converted to uranium hexafluoride (UF6) and subsequently enriched .  The waste from this enrichment process is depleted uranium, which is sometimes used in weapons.  Currently large volumes of depleted uranium are stored in Russia without future use. Its potential as fuel for the proposed Fast Breeder Reactors is very uncertain. 

Finally UF6 is converted into UO2, pelleted and inserted into fuel rods.  This produces more waste.

To fuel a 1000MW reactor core, the following happens:

25 tons of SNF

500 000 tons of waste rock

100 000 tons of tailings

150 tons and 1 300m3 of liquid waste during conversion

260 tons of Depleted Uranium

12m3 solid and 230m3 liquid waste in the fuel fabrication process

In addition, all these steps of the nuclear chain require large amounts of energy, often produced with fossil fuels.  60 grammes of carbon are produced per kilowatt hour to produce nuclear fuel.

These facts would seem to cast nuclear power in an entirely different light.

This then is the birthing of nuclear power.  Destruction of entire ecosystems into radioactive wastelands where people live compromised lives for the benefit of others, wealthier than they are, who have access to good health care.

You still think nuclear is good and clean and cheap?

The Building of the Nuclear Power Station

Not the last phase in the life of nuclear by any means, however, it is the next one.  The Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant is currently way over budget and well behind on completion as is Flamenville in France.  If South Africa were to build the nuclear fleet, it would be financially catastrophic.  Given the experience of Medupi, where commissioning date is uncertain and costs have ballooned, would anyone want to speculate on a nuclear power station?  I would suggest that this makes absolutely no financial sense and if approved will bankrupt the nation.

Nuclear Power Station Emissions

These have been proved to include caesium which affects cows’ milk.  There is a high incidence of particularly childhood cancers around nuclear power stations.

Nuclear Waste and Decommissioning

Now we hit the final nitty gritty.  To date, no nuclear power station has been cleanly and successfully decommissioned.  Sellafield in the UK is one of the worst examples, where a nuclear waste land has been created for around the next 250 million years.  Disposal of radioactive waste is a human rights disaster.  Most is disposed of in Africa, where it is dumped in the surrounding seas and oceans, or in Siberia, where it only affects convicts and the indigenous population.  USA waste and Canada’s appear to be disposed of in areas where only indigenous people are resident.   These two nations appear to dump all their noxious waste in such areas.  France dumps its into the Channel and most of the Irish and North Seas show elevated levels of radioactivity.

Should South Africa go with the nuclear fleet?

If you have read all of the above, what do you think?  We already have a water crisis.  We already have a radiation crisis in the Witwatersrand.  We have sun and wind for Africa.  We are constrained by indebtedness.

Sun and wind will create jobs and boost the economy.  Nuclear provides specialised jobs, which are usually filled by the very small number of specialised people in the world.  Sun and wind give ordinary people new skills which they can pass on to others, growing employment and our economy.

They can feed into the grid and, more importantly, they take households off the grid into power freedom.  What seems best for you?


[1] By ecosystems, I mean everything involved in the area – humans, animals, plants, water and air quality

 

[2] From the presentation of Dr Rianne Teule, Greenpeace at the Uranium Workshop in Tanzania, November 2010

Water, Fracking and the Environment

August 24, 2013

Water, Fracking and the Environment

South Africa has the best environmental law in the world, as we also have one of the best constitutions.  So, why do we have high levels of pollution of our air, land and water?  Quite simply, because we have no regulation in place to ensure that the law is respected.

We seem to have a government that lemming like is rushing to the sea of greatest return and ruining the country and its people without concern.

If only we were Singapore or Switzerland with no resources but human capital to work with, then we might understand how to succeed.

The Value of Water

Water is the most valuable asset any country has, because without pure, sparkling, glorious water, we have not life or health.  We only have sickness and death.

Yet the South African Government is promoting fracking for shale gas in a desperately dry area of the country – the Karoo.

Has the government realised that we have a water crisis throughout the country?  That our rivers and catchments are compromised by heavy pollution and wood lots that suck the much needed water from the catchment before it feeds the streams and rivers?

Has it realised that releasing partially treated Acid Mine Drainage Water into the Vaal and the Crocodile with unacceptable salt levels will kill our food production?

Has any minister walked through affected places with the community to see what is happening?  To that I can answer a clear no as I have not seen them there or been told they visited.

So what about fracking?

Fracking should not take place at all.  The water has to be kept for the communities and ecosystems [1]of South Africa.  Already climate change is negatively affecting us with rising winter temperatures and flash floods.  This may seem harsh, however methane gas impacts negatively on climate change and fracking destroys aquifers.  We have lots of methane in our landfill sites and as by products from our sewage treatment plants – why are we not capturing that at a much lower cost and greater benefit for all?

I could be cynical.

Fracking will destroy key jobs in the Karoo and a major export industry.  The companies that want to frack expect the South African government (aka the tax payers) to fund the infrastructure and cannot guarantee jobs – I asked them and received this reply.

It is time for every South African to question the government and refuse to accept being told what to do.  We, the people, have the right to life, to clean water, clean air and clean land on which to grow our food.  It is in our constitution and we must defend it against polluters and corporate invaders


[1] Ecosystems – the entire system of humans, plants, animals etc