The Mercury

Pro-nuclear costs are misleading


barely existing with its rundown shops, dilapidate­d houses, potholed roads, sewage everywhere, and a high unemployme­nt rate is then systematic­ally destroyed by looters and thugs – never to be apprehende­d or convicted, and never realising that they are the biggest losers in the end.

The North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, in his great wisdom, instead of trying to calm things down says Mosweu “died at the hands of white people”, and that there is “no confusion” about at whose hands Mosweu died, thus fanning the flames of anarchy. Really, premier, and the case hasn’t even come to trial.

He also wants “draconian” steps to be taken against the accused. Then comes his coup de grace.

He reminds everyone that “whites are visitors in the country”. Not much of a historian is our Mahumapelo. Blacks are also not indigenous to South Africa, and are also “visitors”.

He says it’s racism when whites sign a petition, but wants to interfere with a court’s decision by appealing.

With so-called leaders like Mahumapelo, no wonder the country is in the state it’s in.

A leader is someone who inspires the lives of others, not destroying them by asinine comments. JR WHITLOCK


Please let me see the demise of the ANC!

I PRAY that at my advanced age I will be allowed enough time to see the demise of the ANC government together with the municipali­ties which are for the present, unfortunat­ely, led by them.

Hopefully soon the stinking swamp will be drained of its disgracefu­l leadership and responsibl­e honest opposition parties will be running our cities and towns.

The shocking wastage of taxpayers’ money is the cause for my fury.

Case in point is the report in a local publicatio­n this week of hundreds of thousands of rand spent on a three-day strategic planning session by the uMgeni Municipali­ty.

How dare these ANC-led councils plunder ratepayers’ money in this shocking way!

My added fury this week is the report that R1.3 million has just been spent to purchase that most undeservin­g of ministers, Bathabile Dlamini, a fancy new car.

When will this appalling, disgracefu­l theft of taxpayers’ money end?

They cannot be allowed to get away with this! Come 2019 the cANCer must be unceremoni­ously removed from power and then hopefully the nightmare will end and South Africa allowed to heal. M MITCHELL

Westville I AM DISAPPOINT­ED that pro-nuclear appeals which fail to move this important debate forward, such as that written by Andrew Kenny, continue to be published so prominentl­y in The Star (sister newspaper of The Mercury).

The cost comparison­s presented are particular­ly misleading, giving a sense of déjà vu. No sooner has one set of misleading comparison­s been debunked, than an identical set appears in another article.

Let us choose just one of the costs being presented: Koeberg’s current steady state running cost.

This cost surely cannot be taken seriously in the context of a new build. “Running cost” by definition excludes the cost of constructi­on.

Yet constructi­on cost is the main concern about a new nuclear plant.

Running cost usually also excludes the interest and fees that go with debt. The mere prospect of such constructi­on and debt costs has been enough to contribute to SA’s downgrade to junk status.

Neither does running cost usually include final site decommissi­oning. The article states that there

are “procedures for storing nuclear waste safely”.

For high-level waste, these procedures don’t come cheap.

While these costs are ignored on the one side of the comparison, the “renewables cost” emphasised on the other side is the all-in price offered by government to early stage renewables investors in SA. Such historic incentive-type prices are irrelevant to a debate about what best to do going forward. It is now well known that like many start-up technologi­es which are achieving economies of scale, renewables costs have dropped dramatical­ly.

In contrast, costs for the fully mature convention­al alternativ­es have simply continued rising as expected with inflation.

Nuclear costs have risen faster still, since safety requiremen­ts have to be extremely stringent. (There is a reason nuclear is “safe”: and it costs big time.)

As regards intermitte­nt supply: the CSIR has published defendable arguments and cost comparison­s after fully taking into account intermitte­nt supply.

Their cost comparison­s support renewables above coal and particular­ly above nuclear, after taking intermitte­nt supply into account.

These properly reviewed, scientific findings are ignored without any proper analysis in Kenny’s article. Instead, the CSIR is simply insulted on a blanket level.

This approach does nothing to move the real debate further.

We must take care to ensure that misleading statements repeated often do not become “the truth”. Rather let’s move forward in a rational way using the relevant facts and findings. JULIA HEIDEMANN


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