Eskom’s response to the concerns about cracks and corrosion found in the concrete of the buildings housing Koeberg’s reactors is worrying.
Had it not been for a concerned Koeberg insider and the Koeberg Alert Alliance’s requests under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), it is likely the public would still be in the dark about these structural problems. As it is, the response that the KAA received from Eskom had more blacked-out areas than the country during load shedding. So just what is it that Eskom feels we shouldn’t know?
Those redacted documents suggest the only thing Eskom reckons is more dangerous than a radiation leak is an information leak.
It is immoral for Eskom to keep us in the dark about conditions at Koeberg. If something goes wrong at the plant, we all pay the price, so we shouldn’t have to approach Eskom on bended knee to learn of possible problems.
Telling us not to worry won’t make us sleep better at night, especially when we know we’re being treated like mushrooms.
People living in Pripyat near Chernobyl in 1986 were also told not to worry, and we all know how that turned out.
What is possibly most instructive about the impact of 40 years of sea air on the concrete reactor housing is that it demonstrates the fundamental flaw at the heart of the argument for nuclear power: nature. Humanity can plan for earthquakes and jumbo-jet crashes, but, in the end, nature will find a way to undermine our best-laid plans. Nature doesn’t care about “industry standards”. The earthquake-and-tsunami combo in Fukushima should have taught us all that. Let’s hope we’re not due for another lesson.