Thyspunt Alliance hopes to stop Eskom’s plans

The Thyspunt Alliance that is against the siting of a nuclear power plant at  Thyspunt, just 12 kms from St Francis Bay, plans to do its best to stop this project at the current EIA stage.

“However, we need to face up to the fact that the only way in which Eskom can be stopped may be in Court. For this we have started to put together a War Chest,” the Alliance says in a press release, adding that some large donations  have already been aded to a ‘War Chest’. 

The Alliance notes that as before, Thyspunt has been identified as the preferred site. And it lists the following comments based on studying the Executive summary of this report, as well as a cursory glance of the full version:

Eskom and its consultants, Arcus Gibb, have to a large extent ignored comments made by a number of interested and affected parties, including the Thyspunt Alliance, and experts canvassed by the Alliance:

* With respect to Geo-Hydrology, the new Draft EIA totally ignores input from Prof Fred Ellery, an expert in this field. (The report simply states that “there is no evidence of debris flows at the site or that conditions exist for debris flow”).

* The report ignores a study and comments made by Dr Johan Binneman, a leading archaeologist. The report does not deal with the subject of archaeology of the site in spite of the matter being repeatedly raised in comments on the first Draft EIA. The site happens to be of major archaeological importance, covering time spans of millennia.

* The site is of major importance in terms of the cultural heritage of the Khoisan people. The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) has refused to approve the relevant Heritage Impact Scoping Report. Last year the minister of Arts and Culture stated that the NPS would not be built at Thyspunt for this very reason. The consultants to Eskom deal with this matter by stating that an application has been made to SAHRA for a permit to perform test excavations.

* The report states simply that the squid industry will only minimally be affected. This is in spite of the fact that various experts appointed by the South African Squid Management Association (SASMIA) have stated the contrary. Pumping 6, 3 million cubic meters of sand into South Africa’s prime squid breeding ground will have a huge effect and will in all likelihood spell the end of the St Francis squid industry.

* The report concedes that the surf break at Cape St Francis may be adversely affected by the above spoil pumped into the sea at the building site. If this is accepted, then it must also be accepted that the ocean floor will be covered by un-natural (ex-land based) sand…….which MUST affect the squid!

* The report does not deal with the fact that the R330 (Humansdorp – Cape St Francis road) will be used as the main transport road to the site during the 8 odd years of construction. During peak traffic times a heavy vehicle will pass any given point every 90 seconds. There will also be times when extra heavy vehicles will stop all normal traffic on this road for many hours. We may add that Eskom has already bought land to the West of Sea Vista to build the extension of the road through to the NPS site

* The report incorrectly states that agriculture will be positively affected by the NPS project! (Cows produce more milk when near an NPS or transmission lines?)

* Little, if any attention is paid to the fact that the project will employ some 8000 people during construction, and the effects of this influx. Also little attention is paid to what happens to the workforce after completion of the project.

* Arcus Gibb state that they have found a route for their heavy vehicles to by-pass Humansdorp during the construction phase. The “new” route uses Saffery Road, which runs through a residential area and is already used extensively by traffic avoiding the Humansdorp main road, en route to SFB and CSF.

* Reading the main report, it is clear that the technology to be used has not been finalised. Certain conclusions drawn in the report are therefore premature.

* The main report states that the predominant wind is “West-Northwest to Northwest”. This is incorrect and makes a huge difference to disaster management planning. The correct predominant wind direction is South West, which places Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay right in the path of any possible nuclear contamination in case of a disaster. (Arcus Gibb’s/Eskom’s above claimed wind direction has the opposite effect. They have stuck to this incorrect wind direction in spite of the Thyspunt Alliance repeatedly pointing out the mistake.)

“The above are some of the salient points… there is a long way to go. And we have to go all the way if need be!” the Alliance says asking people to contact it if they wish to donate.