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Nuclear Africa visits the site of proposed uranium mining at Beaufort West - August 2016

Nuclear Africa visited the Karoo town of Beaufort West. There we met with groups of residents and also went to examine the site of the proposed new uranium mining operations. Experimental prospecting operations for Uranium mining were carried out at the site over 30 years ago, but the activities were stopped when demand for uranium fell off in the latter part of the 20th century. Now a company, Peninsula Energy, is planning to restart uranium prospecting and mining in the area. The company has applied for the necessary licences.

A South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian, a while ago had claimed that there was nuclear waste lying near the main freeway. Mail & Guardian, working together with activists linked to Greenpeace and SAFCEI (South African Faith Communities Environmental Institute), had illegally gained entrance to the site and made the claims about radioactive waste. The anti-nuclear activists were also directly linked to the Green Party in Germany.

Nuclear Africa gained formal approval to visit the site. We went there with Geiger counters and cameras. We were accompanied by a knowledgeable geologist.

The Mail & Guardian claims turned out to be totally untrue. We went to the actual metal drums which the Mail & Guardian had portrayed as nuclear waste drums and found them to be totally empty. We measured all the radiation levels in and around the drums. We went to the entrance of the old mine and carried out measurements there.

We also went to the old crusher plant, built in the 1970's and examined piles of uranium-bearing ore which were waiting to be processed at the time that the plant was closed down. We found no problems anywhere.

The Greenpeace, SAFCEI and Mail & Guardian claims turned out to be pure sensationalism. One expects that from Greenpeace because they have a frequently-stated goal of attacking any nuclear-related development anywhere in the world.

As one of the anti-nuclear activists said: "Uranium mining is the dirty underbelly of this whole nuclear cycle". So one imagines that their attacks on the proposed mining activities are part of their general attack on the South African nuclear industry.

  • Beaufort West uranium mining photo 1 Beaufort West uranium mining photo 1
    Carol standing by a pile of uranium ore dating from the 1970's
  • Beaufort West uranium mining photo 2 Beaufort West uranium mining photo 2
    Dr Kelvin Kemm taking a radiation measurement at the entrance to the old mine shaft. The reading was 0.5 micro Sievert/h
  • Beaufort West uranium mining photo 3 Beaufort West uranium mining photo 3
    A Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk on the uranium mining concession site. These beautiful birds are found all over the site
  • Beaufort West uranium mining photo 4 Beaufort West uranium mining photo 4
    Carol by old drums at the entrance to the old mine. The drums were empty. Anti-nuclear activists had claimed that drums full of nuclear waste were standing around
  • Beaufort West uranium mining photo 5 Beaufort West uranium mining photo 5
    Dr Kelvin Kemm with the Ngondo brothers, who farm sheep and Angora goats near the uranium mining area. Solomon is on the left and his brother Victor on the right
  • Beaufort West uranium mining photo 6 Beaufort West uranium mining photo 6
    Carol sits on one of many anthills found in the area. The church activist group, Southern African Faith's Communities' Environment Institute, implied that these anthills were the radioactive residue from exploration boreholes

Nuclear Status for Financial Experts - 15 & 17 February 2016

Dr Kelvin Kemm was invited by the Citibank Group to give an interactive presentation to groups of bankers in both Cape Town and Sandton.

The groups were interested in potential investment opportunities in the approaching new nuclear power build.

We found great interest and enthusiasm amongst the financial specialists.

  • Citibank Group photo one Citibank Group photo one
  • Citibank Group photo two Citibank Group photo two

Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute guest presentation - 27 October 2015

Dr Kelvin Kemm of Nuclear Africa was invited by the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VINATOM) to present a guest presentation on the implementation of a nuclear power programme.

The one day seminar was held in Hanoi in Vietnam. Dr Thanh Chi Tran, President of VINATOM was the host of the seminar and the event was chaired by Mr Egor Simonov Regional Vice President : South East Asia of the Russian nuclear company, Rosatom.

Also present was Dr Arnold Soetrisnanto of the National Research Council of Indonesia. Indonesia is also interested in the implementation of a nuclear power programme.

Interesting issues covering a nuclear power programme were discussed such as topics as fundamental as the basic geography of the three countries.

South Africa is as large as the whole of western Europe demanding that very large distances be covered by electrical transmission lines, and the transportation of nuclear materials. In contrast, Vietnam is a very long country, being some 1 500 km in length, but only some 50 km wide at its narrowest point. This geography plus thick vegetation presents challenges for transmission lines.

In contrast, Indonesia is a collection of islands. These differences provided many similarities in the nature of nuclear issues to be faced. The same was true of the general public acceptance of nuclear and it was found that these public issues were very similar for all three countries.

There were also a few Russian specialists present who provided information on issues such as the handling of nuclear waste.

  • Vietnam Nuclear Seminar photo one Vietnam Nuclear Seminar photo one
    Dr O Gorbunova, (Rosatom); Dr Kelvin Kemm, CEO Nuclear Africa; Dr T Palitskaya, (Rosatom); Dr E Melikhova, (Rosatom)
  • Vietnam Nuclear Seminar photo two Vietnam Nuclear Seminar photo two
    Dr Kelvin Kemm, CEO Nuclear Africa; Dr Chi Thanh Tran, President: VINATOM; Mr Egor Simonov, Regional Vice President: South East Asia: Rosatom; Dr Hao Quang Nguyen, Vice-President: VINATOM