Uranium Road is a documentary about nuclear energy in SA. It takes a look at the history of nuclear energy in SA leading up to the present. I was expecting something about the Pebble Bed technology and information on the pros and cons, but it wasn’t about that at all.
The main thrust of the documentary was demonstrating how nuclear energy in apartheid times was shrouded in secrecy and the government used it for profit and for weapons. When the ANC government came into power, before the actually developed a nuclear policy they stated that everything would be done with public input and transparency. Uranium Road then goes on to show how that has not happened and that it is still shrouded in secrecy and there is still very little public participation.
Whenever there is a lack of transparency I become very suspicious. The fact that the government and industry is being so secrective makes me worry. When they fast track environmental studies and subsidise the research 20x more than alternative fuels, I get very worried.
The discussion afterwards was very interesting because there were some people in the audience that knew what they were talking about. I normally always learn something interesting when there is discussion after a documentary viewing.
I still have a lot to learn about nuclear energy and its pros and cons, but as I mentioned earlier, the secrecy and money involved make me extremely suspicious that all is not right. I have also read some interesting articles on why nuclear energy is not the answer, like this one here.
Uranium Road was interesting and informative but you’ll be disappointed if you are wanting to learn more about nuclear energy because it doesn’t go into that much.
It is showing at the Labia tomorrow (10th) and Tuesday (11th) at 8pm. Call the Labia on 021 424 5927 to book.
Thanks to While You Were Sleeping for their great work in making these documentaries available to the public.
The documentary cashes in on the public’s inherent fear of the word “nuclear” to politicise the nuclear debate. It fails to distinguish the Chernobyl reactor to the Koeberg reactors which are much safer. It goes very far to show the a mushroom cloud can appear on Cape Town at any time and we must all be thinking of the nearest escape route! It fails to mention that only low level waste ie materials that come in contact with nuclear material is the one that is taken to vaalputs and burried away in a dry enviroment. The high level waste is not burried there and awaits a good decision.
It goes on to try to illegitimise the PBMR project by criticising how much money has been spent on the project (we should be proudly South African that we are pioneering this technology) and the fact that only highly skilled people will be employed in this industry.
It does not suggest a reliable and secure alternative to nuclear energy. With about 30 new reactors being built worldwide, many countries realise that nuclear is an important part of the energy balance. Gone are the days when the word “nuclear” sent chills down our spines.
Civillian applications of the technology in agriculture, medicine(treatment of cancer and diagnosis) and other industrial applications are on the rise. It is about time we took a fresh look at this wonderful technology that has been waiting for man to embrace it.
On the other hand this technology has the potential to do a lot of damage if it is not properly managed or when in wrong hands. In perspective we are dying more from smoking, alcohol, road accidents, HIV than from nuclear technology. I can not imagine how the western cape could manage without koeberg. Talk about biting the ginger that feeds you. By the way energy from the sun also originates from nuclear energy so be careful what you criticise.
I’m not ready to respond to this comment yet, I am still researching the topic.
I don’t believe that nuclear is the solution, and I find the lack of transparency feeds my discomfort.
For now I refer readers to this short and simple article: