Green Party Party President Peter Sinkamba has questioned the country’s capacity to handle nuclear technology in an event of a disaster.
Commenting on President Lungu’s inaugural speech where he announced that government will pursue nuclear technology, Mr Sinkamba said though nuclear energy is considered clean energy it is not on the list of renewable energy because it’s waste is harmful.
He wondered if the country could handle a nuclear disaster the scale of Chernobyl or Fukushima.
“In his Inaugural Speech delivered on 13 September, 2016, President Edagr Lungu announced that his administration will pursue nuclear technology as part of the diversified sustainable energy mix. Is nuclear energy really sustainable energy? Do we, as Zambia, really have the capacity to manage a nuclear disaster of disaster of Chernobyl or Fukushima scale?
“Frankly speaking, although nuclear energy is considered clean energy, its inclusion on the renewable energy list has been ruled out. Renewable energy is defined as an energy source/fuel type that can regenerate and can replenish itself indefinitely. The five renewable sources used most often are biomass, wind, solar, hydro and geothermal.
“The major reason why nuclear energy is excluded on the list of renewable energy is the harmful nuclear waste from nuclear power reactors. The nuclear waste is considered as a radioactive pollutant that goes against the notion of a renewable energy source,” he said.
He added “Secondly, nuclear energy cannot be put on the list of renewable for the simple fact that uranium deposit on earth is finite, unlike solar and wind. The amount of uranium deposit available could only supply nuclear energy for about 1000 years. To be counted as renewable, the energy source (fuel) should be sustainable for an indefinite period of time, according to the definition of renewable energy stated above.”
Mr Sinkamba further explained that nuclear energy has been a source of untold pain and suffering to some communities in some developed countries which have depended on the nuclear technology as their source of energy.
“The simple reason of nuclear disasters at Chernobyl in Russia and more recently in Fukushima in Japan, nuclear power in Europe is scaling down. Germany has since permanently shut down eight of its 17 reactors and pledged to close the rest by the end of 2022. By 2025, it is estimated that over a third of the EU’s currently operational reactors will be at the end of their lifecycle and in need of shutdown. As of 2016, countries such as Australia, Austria, Denmark, Greece, and Norway have no nuclear power stations and remain opposed to nuclear while Italy, Spain and Switzerland have joined Germany in phasing-out nuclear power. Is this the technology Zambia should seriously venture into?”
He also reiterated that his Party’s clear plan of sorting out the country’s power deficit.
“As we announced during the Presidential Debate, we the Greens planned to generate 30,000MW from biomass, wind, solar, hydro and geothermal of the electricity in 10 years. We planned our energy mix such that 60% of energy is generated from solar power. We planned to set-up Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) complexes – some of Africa’s largest – in the Gwembe Valley of Southern Province and valleys of Western and Tanganyika Provinces.
“In terms of financing, we planned marshal a mix of financing arrangements. Primarily, we proposed to apply $7 billion from the marijuana revenue coupled with multilateral financing through the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and other low-cost debt multilateral investors.”
Republican President Edgar Lungu indicated that the country is considering tapping into nuclear technology as way of alleviating the country’s continued energy demands.