Fac­tual fail­ures as clean en­ergy de­bate goes nu­clear

Sunday Times - - Opinion -

I am writ­ing in re­sponse to “The case for nu­clear: clean, in­ex­haustible, and, un­like so­lar and wind, al­ways on” (November 4). The ar­ti­cle by Knox Msebenzi is noted as the nu­clear lobby’s re­sponse to the In­te­grated Re­source Plan (IRP) dis­cus­sion.

The first truth in the de­bate is that it is im­pos­si­ble to have a ra­tio­nal dis­cus­sion when the facts are not plain and clear. The IRP’s goal is to map out SA’s path to least­cost, re­li­able elec­tric­ity sup­ply. The model as­sump­tions are clearly out­lined in the doc­u­ment and ex­plained.

The au­thor in­di­cates with a lack of fac­tual in­for­ma­tion that so­lar, wind and gas are ex­pen­sive or un­re­li­able. Where is the fac­tual ba­sis for this? He also fails to note the role that gas will play in com­bat­ing in­ter­mit­tency. This is also mod­elled in the IRP.

The costs of re­new­ables are drop­ping be­cause of in­no­va­tion in man­u­fac­tur­ing and scale. Swan­son’s Law de­scribes a 20% re­duc­tion in cost with a dou­bling of man­u­fac­tur­ing scale. This has proved ac­cu­rate over the past 30 years.

The only way to ar­gue in favour of nu­clear power in place of re­new­ables and gas is to show that it is cheaper. Msebenzi has failed to make a co­gent ar­gu­ment for nu­clear power.

Dom Wills, CEO: SOLA Fu­ture En­ergy

Not pro-Earthers who are in a panic

The nu­clear lobby is at it again. This time it is Knox Msebenzi who at­tempts to de­mol­ish what he calls the “anti-nu­clear lobby”. I would like to in­struct him that many of us are not anti-nu­clear; we are pro-clean Earth.

He says that we who “ped­dle re­new­able en­ergy” are in a state of panic. I would have thought this is his sit­u­a­tion now that nu­clear en­ergy is off the ta­ble for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

To say that the “Ger­mans” have found re­new­ables too ex­pen­sive is to fly in the face of facts. In 2017 elec­tric­ity from re­new­ables in Ger­many grew by a record amount. Coal-power pro­duc­tion fell no­tice­ably, even as nu­clear power fell — de­spite record ex­ports.

Since the first nu­clear re­ac­tor was shut down in 2003 as part of Ger­many’s nu­clear phase-out, elec­tric­ity from re­new­ables has in­creased al­most twice as much as nu­clear power has shrunk. Coal power has also dropped. The lights have stayed on.

It has never been said that re­new­ables will be all we need. It is back-up power that is al­most free af­ter the ini­tial in­stal­la­tion, does not pol­lute the air we breathe and is cer­tainly not dan­ger­ous to our health as are both nu­clear and coal. Lau­rence Prior, re­search fel­low at Unisa

Biko would have hailed Pabasa

The cre­ation of the Pan African Bar As­so­ci­a­tion of SA (Pabasa) is a wel­come de­vel­op­ment in the pur­suit of black sel­f­re­liance.

It mir­rors the 1968 move by black stu­dents led by Steve Biko when they moved out of the Na­tional Union of South African Stu­dents to cre­ate the South African Stu­dents Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Saso), which for all in­tents and pur­poses was the real seed that ger­mi­nated into the Broeder­bond real­is­ing the fu­til­ity of apartheid and the Na­tional Party em­bark­ing on “re­forms” from about 1978.

It is un­for­tu­nate that in all that is re­ported about Pabasa, no prece­dent is quoted by th­ese men of law who utilise “prece­dent” so much in ar­gu­ing their cases. It is prob­a­ble that they have sucked too much of the re­con­structed view of our past.

Au­then­tic his­tory will record that the for­ma­tion of Saso was “the sin­gle most im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment in the in­ter­nal pol­i­tics of SA in the pe­riod 1967-76”, as one Sam No­lut­shungu stated in 1982. The cre­ation of Saso led to the changes in the apartheid le­gal frame­work that pro­gressed to ap­proaches to the likes of Man­dela in jail in the mid-’80s.

Let us hope the for­ma­tion of Pabasa shall it­self be the sin­gle most im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment in the evo­lu­tion of le­gal prac­tice among Africans in SA.

That Pabasa should rise 25 years into democ­racy places Biko above all in terms of vision. No amount of pro­pa­ganda and air­brush­ing can re­move the fun­da­men­tal truth, “black man, you are on your own”.

Dr Kenosi Mos­alakae, Houghton

Blink­ered view of VBS du­ties

One would as­sume that ed­u­ca­tion en­light­ens, but hate-driven prej­u­dice can over­ride even a PhD. The doc­tor in the red over­alls has il­lus­trated this clearly.

He lashes out at the Re­serve Bank for its lack of over­sight and for fail­ing to pre­vent the VBS bank heist. It is ac­cused of be­ing racist and not car­ing about black busi­ness.

I’d bet my bot­tom dol­lar that if the Re­serve Bank had ex­er­cised any over­sight while things were go­ing well, it would have been ac­cused of racism, in­ter­fer­ence and not trust­ing black bankers.

It is not the job of the Re­serve Bank to baby-sit other banks. That is the duty and re­spon­si­bil­ity of the bank’s board of directors and au­di­tors. Where were they when all the loot­ing took place?

IC Fran, Wilder­ness

Par­lia­ment no place for porn stars

The em­bat­tled home af­fairs min­is­ter, Malusi Gi­gaba, is at it again. This time he showed his small fin­ger to EFF MP Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi dur­ing the de­bate on Tues­day in par­lia­ment. This is how he re­sponds to those who crit­i­cise him af­ter that em­bar­rass­ing porn video.

There are no ex­cuses for his child­ish be­hav­iour. He is a dis­grace, a clown who needs to ex­cuse him­self from the po­si­tion of min­is­ter. He must go and be a porn star some­where else, not in our par­lia­ment. We are not go­ing to be led by porn stars.

Tom Mh­langa, Braam­fontein

Write to PO Box 1742, Sax­on­wold 2132; SMS 33662; e-mail: tel­lus@sun­day­times.co.za; Fax: 011 280 5150 All mail should be ac­com­pa­nied by a street ad­dress and day­time tele­phone num­ber. The Edi­tor re­serves the right to cut let­ters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.