“We’re trying to create awareness around the dangers of nuclear energy. It’s almost one year since Fukushima happened and we’re saying that wherever you live near a nuclear power station, there’s a potential for such danger,” Ferial Adam anti nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace Africa told News24.
The campaign illustrates the dangers of radioactivity in the event of a nuclear crisis, similar to what was experienced by Japan in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11 2011.
Several countries are abandoning plans for nuclear power after the Japanese event as public concerns over the safety of nuclear power took the political spotlight.
Greenpeace wants to lobby the South African government to end nuclear programmes in favour of accelerated investment into renewable energy.
“Nuclear is definitely a dirty source of energy, it’s expensive and it’s too little, too late,” Adam said.
In SA, Eskom has said that nuclear power is required for base load energy supply, but the utility has also been investing in renewable energy.
A recent African Development Bank loan of $365m will be used to build a solar plant in the Northern Cape province and wind farm plans for Port Elizabeth have be opened for public comment.
Greenpeace rejected the base load argument, saying that an energy mix could deliver the energy requirement for South Africans.
“If you have a combination and a proper mix of energy with solar and wind, you don’t have to stuck on having a large base load,” Adam said.
South Africa’s coal reserves has been estimated at 30 400 million tons or around 3% of the global supply and Greenpeace said that the government should concentrate on renewable energy while coal was plentiful.
“Instead of wasting money and putting it into nuclear energy, we’re saying that now is the time to put it into renewable energy,” said Adam.