No to nuclear power

Your front-page report (End secrecy on ‘thumbsuck ’ nuclear cost, DA urges, February 29) reveals that the government’s own estimates are that 9600MW of electricity from atomic power stations will cost R300bn, versus 40000 MW from the Grand Inga hydropower costing R200bn. That is, electricity from atomic power stations will be 600% the cost per megawatt of electricity from imported hydropower.

Further, the energy minister says — realistically — that the R300bn is not the final cost of atomic power stations, but "just the beginning". The real costs will be far higher.

There is no economic case for atomic power stations in SA. There are no cost-effective arguments for "including atomic in the mix". They are misperceived by a handful of politicians and bureaucrats as high-tech prestige, and excitement for a few engineers.

We need the associations of business, commerce, and mining to speak up before it is too late. Cost-effective baseline power can and should be provided by a mix of imported hydropower, concentrated solar power (with molten salt for night-time), and gas from Mozambique.

Keith Gottschalk, University of the Western Cape,