Should South Africa KILL the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station?


Many people in the United States are surprised when I inform them that South Africa possessed six nuclear bombs between 1960 and 1980. These were dismantled in the early 1990s, but the legacy lives on with Koeberg nuclear power plant in Cape Town.

My dad, Paul Stevens, recently sent a letter to a Cape newspaper calling for a national referendum on the issue in the wake of the Japanese Tsunami. This was recently published. I would be interested in your views on this subject. The Koeberg plant is the only nuclear power station in Africa.


The safety issues regarding nuclear power are so utterly far reaching government really does not have the moral authority to proceed further along this path without first consulting every citizen in South Africa.

I am calling for a national referendum on this issue.

The question is simple: should South Africa use nuclear power or not?

Should the referendum result in a No majority the government should have the courage to abandon their expansion plans and in fact to decommission Koeberg over say a period of 5-10 years.

In Taipei, March 28, Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers have called on the legislature to approve a referendum on nuclear power.

In Poland, March 23, Prime Minister Donald Tusk says he does not exclude the possibility of holding a referendum on nuclear power.

Italy, March 23, has declared a one-year moratorium on plans to establish a nuclear power industry.

On Saturday March 26, 250 000 people took to the streets in Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne to demonstrate against nuclear power.

These are still early days but as the full ramifications of Japan’s nuclear crisis become evident the demand for nuclear power referenda will become politically irresistible worldwide.

It can be argued in very simple terms that the risks of nuclear power are actually insane. Cancer, genetic defects, destruction of businesses, loss of jobs, and the immediate collapse of property values. In a major disaster an entire city (e.g. Cape Town) can be rendered uninhabitable for 200 years.

Referenda have been held in Sweden (1980), Austria (1978), Switzerland (1995), Japan (1996), Italy (1987), and Taiwan (1982).

Citizens, the time is now and the right is yours.

Paul Stevens
Llandudno, Cape Town

2 Responses to “Should South Africa KILL the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station?”
  1. Aldred 25 January 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    I entirely agree. The world is covering up the disaster in Japan and I believe millions are going to die.

  2. Aldred 25 January 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Our plant is using uranium, not plutonium and only one of the two reactors is now running. I don’t think the French will help us out again.

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