Response to yesterday’s Thyspunt article

Maybe Thyspunt isn’t inevitable! – Response

Yesterday St Francis Today published an article on nuclear submitted as a press release by Spintelligent promoting African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa 2016. The views expressed in that article are those of the author and not of St Francis Today. Obviously it emanates from a pro lobby point of view and so is biased toward nuclear and was published by St Francis Today for the very purpose of encouraging comment and debate. St Francis Today reports on  available news and leaves it to our readers to make their own assessments and decisions allowing readers to comment be it in support of or rejecting any report.

The following response to yesterday article was submitted by Hilton Thorpe  St Francis Kromme Trust representative on the Thyspunt Alliance

Response to article in St Francis Today, 17 Feb., 2016

Your article on the inevitability of Thyspunt going ahead (St Francis Today, 17 Feb., 2016) was a typical piece of the propaganda being disseminated by the pro-nuclear lobby.

What no-one seems to be considering is the price which will be paid by the Humansdorp/St Francis Bay region if Thyspunt  goes ahead. Eskom and the business community argue that it will lead to an unprecedented economic boom for the area. For whom? For developers, estate agents and property-owners, home owners who want to sell or rent their homes, fast-food outlets, drug dealers and prostitutes. This has been the experience at Lephalale, following the construction of Medupi Power Station. For those who simply want to stay and enjoy this wonderful environment, it will be a disaster.

The Lephalale experience has seen a total change in the whole character of the area. Yes, they now have a supermarket, and a private hospital  (both of which we already have). They also have a hugely increased crime rate, the highest incidence of HIV in the country, and chaotic deficiencies in infra-structure, resulting from completely inadequate forward planning. Some long-standing residents have given up and moved out.

It is inevitable that a decision to proceed will be accompanied by a huge influx of unemployed and unskilled job-seekers, who will be competing with the locals for the limited and temporary job opportunities. Most will not find work, but many will stay on in squalid, unserviced informal settlements. No provision will be made for them, and there is no suitable state land in the St Francis area. The “Thatch Farm” has been condemned for residential development, because it is a wetland, subject to serious flooding. This will inevitably lead to land invasion onto private land or nature reserves, as Eskom themselves have acknowledged, and built their monstrous and hugely expensive fence around their property, specifically to prevent land invasion. (Had this not been in place, it is likely that the recent fire would have been prevented, as it started at the fence, and prevented fire-fighting services from entering their land). No-one can predict where and on what scale this would happen, but happen it will.

Those of us who just sit back and argue that it is a done-deal, and there is nothing that can be done about it, should think again. If Pravin Gordhan lives up to his word in the budget, he will announce that we cannot afford nuclear at this stage, and will delay the project.

Eskom is now arguing that Emergency Planning Zones should be reduced from 16 kilometres around the site to 3 kilometres. If this is approved, it opens up a whole new range of sites which could be suitable. If the nuclear programme is delayed, Eskom should be made to complete the site investigation process, which was never completed because of apartheid restrictions, and look for a more suitable site, in terms of the new EPZ criteria, between the two industrial centres of Port Elizabeth & East London. Such a site could well be far more appropriate than Thyspunt.

Hilton Thorpe  St Francis Kromme Trust representative on the Thyspunt Alliance


SFB Squash Invitational

St Francis Bay Squash Invitational

St Francis Bay Squash Invitational

St Francis Bay Squash

Eric Stewart, local St Francis Bay Squash Club member, standing with the first ‪#‎TeslaPowerwall‬ to reach ‪#‎SouthAfrica‬ which was proudly supplied by Greg Darke and Kathea Energy

The hugely anticipated and Internationally recognized annual SFB Squash Invitational will be starting this today (18th Feb). The tournament will held over three days with some excellent squash as well lots of fun on and off the court.

With 80 pairings, seven sections, 91 individual entrants and 147 matches to be completed in two and half days, the St Francis Bay Squash Club has confirmed they have a full complement of players and are in fact slightly over subscribed making this year’s event the biggest SFB Squash Invitational yet.

There are a number of excellent squash players attending this year such as Alex Fuller SA no 3 World no 71, Karen Schultz SA no 19, Michael Wood Mixed Doubles National SA Champion, Paul Atkinson Mixed Doubles National SA Champion and Craig Wapnik Former SA no 1, among many others!

Talented local photographer, Christopher Scott will be joining us at this year’s tournament so stop by the St Francis Bay squash club, watch some of the excellent squash and who knows your photo could adorn the social media pages and if we can persuade Christopher to part with some of his superb work, on the pages of St Francis Today.

The courts are looking great with new tins generously donated by Richard Arderne of Pam Golding Properties and the marquee is up and ready to start entertaining players and gusts alike. And as for entertainment  DJ Johnny Dyssell will be flying in on Thursday morning to provide us with a series of awesome sets for the entire weekend.

The SFB Invitational is ready for a good time, the question is, are you? The St Francis Bay Squash Club welcomes anyone near and wide to join us for a few drinks on Friday night – we hope to see you all there! – the whole of St Francis is invited!



Is Thyspunt inevitable? Seems so!

“Koeberg Nuclear Power Station is a cash cow for Eskom”

NuclearWhether pro or anti it seems that Thyspunt is going to happen. St Francis Today received the following press regarding nuclear energy and the upcoming  Clean Power Africa 2016 conference to be held in Cape Town in May.

President Jacob Zuma’s remarks during last week’s SONA on the country’s nuclear future might seem contradictory, but this is not the case, says Dr. Anthonie Cilliers of North West University’s School of Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering. President Zuma said South Africa’s nuclear build programme would roll out at a pace the country can afford and that the plan was to introduce 9600MW of nuclear energy in the next decade.

Dr Cilliers says “the government has been conducting a number of studies on the affordability of the new build nuclear programme. It is however important to assure this to the public. In the past year a perception has been left in the media that the nuclear programme will go ahead without any knowledge of the cost and responsibilities that come with it.  I hope the President’s comments will help to change this perception.”

He says South Africans should not be worried: “contrary to popular sentiment the process of 9600MW of nuclear procurement has been extremely open and transparent. The vendor parades were well documented within the confidentiality constraints of a competitive bidding process. Government has cancelled an unaffordable tender process in 2009 indicating the commitment to affordability. I want to emphasise what the President said. We remain committed to the 9600MW of Nuclear New Build, but we will do it at a scale and pace the country can afford – that is what we should so.”

Nuclear power by far the safest option
“Contrary to what people think and believe, nuclear power provides by far the safest option” states Professor Johan Slabber, professor in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Pretoria. He adds: “it also compares virtually on a one to one basis with coal when it comes to the costing. Although the capital cost is somewhat higher to start with, its running cost is much lower.”Prof Slabber says the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station has been running smoothly now for more than 30 years: “Its load factor is 90% plus, compared to coal fired stations which run at 75%. It is the “cash cow” at the moment for Eskom. So with this as a clear example of a reliable and safe technology, why hesitate any longer?”

Nuclear has potential to transform our country
North West University’s Dr. Anthonie Cilliers says “I believe very strongly that nuclear energy has the potential to transform our country’s economy as it has done for South Korea – catapulting it from the second poorest country in the world to an industrial and economic power house.”

He adds: “to support that I believe I should focus on two things: Building the right skills required, and ensuring that we understand exactly the magnitude of the challenge we are taking on. To address the first one we have initiated the South African Network for Nuclear Education, Science and Technology (SAN-NEST). To address the second one, I have initiated a project to build a small zero power reactor suitable for nuclear training at the NWU.”

Rosatom: ready to cooperate
The Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom is seen as a favourite to win the bid for a second nuclear reactor in South Africa. Mr Viktor Polikarpov, Regional VP: sub-Saharan Africa for Rosatom: “we are ready to cooperate with local companies to revitalise the entire nuclear industry in South Africa, to develop a full-scale nuclear cluster of world class standards, from the front-end of nuclear fuel cycle up to the engineering and manufacturing of complex power equipment and in doing so, create reliable partners that can assist us in achieving our ambitions further up in Africa. South Africa has the infrastructure, technical capabilities and legislation in place for this to become a reality now.“

Nuclear Power Africa
Dr. Anthonie Cilliers, Prof Johan Slabber and Rosatom are some of the nuclear experts who will be part of the discussions at the upcoming Nuclear Power Africa on 19 May in Cape Town. The event will examine the myths and realities of nuclear power and explore the future of nuclear in the coming energy transition. Expert speakers will look at lessons learned from nuclear build programmes around the world, and provide insights on advanced nuclear technologies available today and in the near future.

Dates for African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa 2016:
Conference and expo: 17-19 May 2016
Awards gala dinner:  18 May 2016
Site visits: 20 May 2016
Location: CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

Linkedin: African Power Forum

Press Release received from