Sun Dec 04 14:19:38 CAT 2016

Thyspunt nuclear site at risk of seismic activity‚ Eskom concedes

Karl Gernetzky | 2016-11-28 19:42:34.0
With the announcement of Eskom's plans to build the next Nuclear power station 70 km's South East from Port Elisabeth between Cape St Francis and Oyster Bay many discussions and debates have been provoked. Environmental issues, financial and economic implications and safety of the proposed plant was on top of the agenda. With the late Fukushima Power plant incident this raised many red flags with the worst case scenario in mind.
Image by: Thyspunt.com

Power utility Eskom on Friday conceded that hazard assessments for the proposed Thyspunt nuclear site were accurate‚ and that its own assessment had already identified that the area was seismically active 10‚000 years ago.

Business Day reported that a geological study had concluded that it would be almost impossible to safely construct a nuclear power station at Thyspunt‚ near Jeffrey’s Bay‚ because of deep canyons in the bedrock hidden by sand and soft rock.

Thyspunt‚ 90km from Port Elizabeth‚ is one of Eskom’s three sites identified for possible construction of a power station — and is now the preferred site.

In 2015‚ Eskom applied for nuclear installation site licences for Thyspunt and Duynefontein in the Western Cape.

The study‚ by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Africa Earth Observatory Unit‚ also concluded that the area was at risk of storm surges as a result of climate change‚ and that it risked devastation from tsunamis.

"That work was incorporated in the Thyspunt seismic hazard calculations and is reflected in the seismic design input that will be used for the design of the power stations‚" Eskom said in a statement.

"At Thyspunt‚ aquifer systems and valleys/canyons beneath the sands may not be able to protect large tidal swamps and/or tsunami waves from flooding across the bedrock below sea level. Thus‚ it would appear irresponsible to build a nuclear power station at this site‚" the report read.

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