Newsexpress banner Camano banner
South African nuclear site not safe, say studies

By News Express on 25/11/2016

Views: 1,464


  It would be near impossible to construct a nuclear power station safely at Thyspunt, near Jeffrey’s Bay, because of deep, hidden canyons in the bedrock covered by sand and soft rock, a geological study has found.

The study was corroborated by another from a PhD candidate at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University that detects evidence of a large paleo-seismic event along an Eastern Cape fault line 10,000 years ago. It looks set to blow a hole in Eskom’s environmental impact assessment study for the area that found the area technically safe and environmentally friendly for the construction of a nuclear power station.

Thyspunt, 90km from Port Elizabeth, is one of Eskom’s top two preferred sites for a nuclear power station. It comprises a relatively flat area of hard rock close to sea level, covered by wetland and fynbos.

Eskom applied for a licence for the site with the National Nuclear Regulator in March.

The study was the work of a geology master’s student at the university. Professor Maarten de Wit, director of the Africa Earth Observatory Network, has written a report summarising the findings of the two in which he warns that the risks at Thyspunt have not been properly examined and that the evidence is overwhelming that the site is unsuitable.

The first study reveals what he describes as “a simple but to date unexpected message from the subsurface: cut into the hard bedrock on which the nuclear station must be built, are paleo-valleys and canyons hidden below the … dune sands and soft sedimentary rock.”

The study discovered four such previously unknown paleo-canyons that extend inland well below the present sea level, he says. At Thyspunt, the canyon cuts into more than 1,000m² of bedrock to a depth of 16m below sea level.

“When I saw her [the master’s student’s] work I was shocked. Eskom looked at all this data and they missed the most important thing,” he said.

It implied the plant would need to be built on, or adjacent to, an area that is well below sea level, De Wit said.

“The hard rock is almost 20m below sea level. Just one big sweep of sea could dislodge that sand and rock,” he says.

Rising sea levels, surging storms due to climate change, and far-field tectonic-induced tsunamis pose dangers in the presence of the canyons.

Eskom responded to the report on Thursday by saying it was confident its seismic hazard assessment was adequate. The methodology used had taken account of various alternative models and interpretations, including the “extreme scenario” in De Wit’s report, it said.

“Eskom will also apply conservative decision-making in the design and operation of a future Thyspunt nuclear installation. It is confident that the data used and knowledge gained through the Thyspunt [probabilistic seismic hazard analysis] project is accessible to the broader scientific community, and that it has contributed to our understanding of the local and regional geology and the hazard posed by seismic events.”

The paper quotes studies that show the sea level has been rising along Nelson Mandela Bay at about 2mm a year over the past 36 years and may rise between 1m and 2m by the end of this century as the power station nears the end of its life. Nelson Mandela Bay is also particularly exposed to storm surges.

"From the above, one may conclude that the chance of seawater penetration into buried canyons and valleys beneath the Thyspunt dunes is more likely to increase into the future rather than stagnate or decrease," the report reads.

The PhD study explores the fault system that runs about 600km along the Cape mountains to Coega, and several fault systems nearby. The area has witnessed historic earthquakes such as the 6.3-magnitude Ceres-Tulbagh quake in 1969.

De Wit says new “paleo-seismicity work” outlined in the thesis confirms the fault “can be best considered ‘active’”; and a major earthquake and surface rupture occurred about 10,000 years ago along the Kango Fault segment, close to De Rust.

A conservative estimate of the magnitude of this paleo-earthquake is between 6.9 and 7.2, the study reads.

“The new work implies that the hazard for the southern to southeastern Cape should now be upgraded, to include local 7.0-magnitude events.

“If in future, for example such a similar earthquake occurs along the extended St Croix Fault offshore, it is likely to generate a large submarine slump, and possible significant local tsunami that would affect the coastal region, including Thyspunt,” the report reads.

De Wit criticises Eskom for making little of its own technical work available on an open-source data bank, which would allow other scientists to scrutinise it. This, he says, is neither transparent nor international best practice.

The risks are compounded by indications from Eskom that it does not intend building a state-of-the-art nuclear plant that would include allthe post-Fukushima safety features standard in Generation III reactors.

•Sourced from Business Day (South Africa). Photo by Sunday Times shows Aeon
Koeberg nuclear power just outside Cape Town.

Source News Express

Posted 25/11/2016 9:07:45 PM

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
5 Imo APC governorship aspirants align with Sen....

SHAMELESS MAN: Ex-Police IG Hafiz Ringim begs Britain...

Environmentalists, Shell bicker over Spills Investigation Reports

2019: Plot to stop Buhari in court uncovered...

June 12: Aregbesola, others call for restructuring

Dickson, Clark move to avert fresh Niger Delta...

NACHPN, PACFAH decry low budgetary allocation for health...

46 migrants die as boat sinks off Tunisian...

I can dance naked for Ibori – Reverend...

SON shuts coy for forgery

Saraki receives 5,000 youths from APC

Change Agenda: Buhari administration has performed creditably: Minister...

 

Latest News INEC withdraws 25 Certificates-of-Return from election winners Bus driver found dead hanging from tree after surviving accident 3 Nigerians bag 40 years jail terms in the UK over drugs, illegal arms deal 2nd term: Kogi APC Aspirants’ Forum rejects Gov. Yahaya Bello My wife denies me sex over my micro penis — Pastor tells court National Assembly shocks media houses, rolls out stringent accreditation guidelines Harvest of arrests in Anambra: 75 cult suspects, robbers, others in police net Rape Saga: Judge disqualifies self from trial of Ex-Bayelsa Gov's aide over petition to NJC Reps Speakership: 156 members-elect endorse Bago for Speaker FG unfolds details of 29 May, 12 June celebrations Floods hit parts of Lagos after heavy rains Suspected kidnapper lynched in Kaduna

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (480,423 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (419,551 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (358,049 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (306,142 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (270,456 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (241,370 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (229,294 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (211,038 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (202,534 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (200,333 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (181,352 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (181,313 views)

 

UBA Wise Savers Promo

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (91) Business & Economy (4,269) Business Verdict (71) Columnists (1,031) Complaints & Requests (95) Enterprise & Opportunities (208) Entertainment (614) Features (752) Global Business Monitor (362) ICT Monitor (43) International (3,465) Interview (179) Live Commentary (29) Love Matters (161) Maggie's Blog (268) News (46,348) Opinion (1,242) Pidgin (17) Politics (10,799) Religion (1,004) Sports (2,010) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

 

 

 

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera