Greenpeace Africa today demanded a halt to discussions aimed at expanding nuclear power generation not only in South Africa but also the rest of the African continent. Activists dressed in nuclear emergency suits dumped marked nuclear waste bags and placed look-a-like nuclear barrels at the entrance of the Industrial Development corporation (IDC) building to highlight the dangers associated with nuclear and remind our leaders that nuclear is bad for Africa.
In the early morning protest, Greenpeace Africa activists blockaded the premises of the IDC where the conference on *Nuclear power's future for Africa *was taking place. The conference, opened by SA's Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, was organised by Cape Town-based international advisory firm, Omega Investment Research, and attracted high-ranking delegates from across Africa.
"Minister Peters' support to expand nuclear power in Africa is extremely irresponsible given the socio-economic challenges prevalent on the continent" said Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaigner Ferrial Adam.
Nuclear energy is expensive and prone to construction delays. In a developed country like Finland, the delays have resulted in costs increasing by almost 100 percent, from EUR3.2billion to EUR6billion. France, a country that is one of the strongest proponents of nuclear energy, has had to delay the construction of its reactor being built in Flamanville. The French reactor has faced numerous delays and cost over-runs since the project began.
"As a continent we should be learning from what history has shown about nuclear power: It is a dirty and dangerous source of energy, and one that will always be vulnerable to the deadly combination of human errors, design failures, and natural disasters," added Adam.
In South Africa, the nuclear process has been marked by secrecy and non-transparency. Key questions around the design, cost and safety are unanswered. The government's dream of becoming a nuclear power will end up as a nuclear nightmare and should stop now before it is too late" warned Adam
"South Africa is making a big mistake with its nuclear build - how can anyone decide to build new reactors while there is no strategy to deal with the radioactive waste they produce, the NNR's budget has been cut, and NECSA is retrenching 200 skilled workers?" questioned Adam.
"In place of conferences seeking to promote outdated nuclear technology in Africa, there should be more talks on how renewable energy can deliver energy security, empower local communities, and combat climate change.Greenpeace Africa's report 'The Advanced Energy [R]evolution'
 proves that we do not need nuclear power. Instead, South Africa should move straight to a future powered by clean, safe and renewable sources of energy. By 2030, 50 percent of South Africa's electricity should come from renewables - not only would this help in averting catastrophic climate change, but it could also create 150 000 direct jobs over the next 20 years" concluded Adam.