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THE PROPOSED THYSPUNT  NUCLEAR POWER STATION 

Thyspunt has been declared by Eskom as the ‘preferred site’ for the construction of a 4000MW Nuclear Power Station. The proposed site lies 100kms from Port Elizabeth and between Cape St Francis and Oyster Bay, approximately 15 kms south of Cape St Francis.
Predictably, huge debates with regard to environmental issues, financial, social and economic implications and the safety of the proposed plant have raged on over the past 5 years. The late Fukushima Power plant incident has raised many red flags as to the safety of this scheme and of nuclear power per say.

Possible locations for the new Nuclear reactor had been Duynefontein and Bantamsklip but after an analysis of impact study was done, the outcome was in favour of Thyspruit due to the positive scoring of +5 and where a negative scoring -8 from the other two locations. The company, Arcus Gibb, who were given the task of conducting an Environmental Impact Assesment and  issuing an Environmental Report, have had to return to the drawing board repeatedly over the past few years and are in the process of producing and issuing their 3rd Environmental Report, the issuing of which is now reported to be delayed to 2015. The very passionate opposition launched by the Thyspunt Alliance organization has focused on issues which they see as “beyond any mitigation” and of huge threat to the area. These include:
>  ‘the historical and cultural significance of the area as it is seen as the “Coastal cradle of human kind.”. Invaluable archaeological and paleontological resources of the area could be endangered and never replaced.

>the rare fynbos heritage which is endemic to this area only and which would be destroyed by a construction project of this scale
>the fact that the area is a prevalent farming and agricultural area
>the added burden to pressing social issues already plaguing the area : unemployment, lack of adequate housing, already challenged water and sewerage issues.
> the potential damage to a sea-based chokka industry
which provides the main source of income to many of the township inhabitants.

> recognized as one of the leading coastal tourist destinations in South Africa, the area and its inhabitants would have a lot to lose should the construction of this huge power station bring about an industrialization of the area.

The wide range of pertinent issues affecting the area in the face of a construction of this magnitude, have obliged Arcus Gibb to obtain over 23 ‘ Independent Specialist Reports’.

The ‘not in our back yard’ opponents to the NPS refute the claims by Eskom that the construction of the NPS promises to bring many ‘positives’ to the area,  including :
>the whole area will receive an upgrade to existing roads and bridges, this being imperative  to accommodate the heavy vehicles transporting thousands of tons material procured by local suppliers.
>the huge boost to unskilled employment in the area. A comparison here is drawn to the Medupi Power Station which over a period of 7 years has given work to over 14000 unskilled workers from the area.

>Eskom will inject huge resources into the area in terms of housing, schools etc.
> the whole area will receive an economic boost due to the thousands of contractors and consultants who will be in the area over the proposed 10 year building period.