J-Bay Goes Nuclear

Planned nuclear power facility near J-Bay sparks outrage among surfers

Construction on a proposed power plant by J-Bay could start as soon as next year, and would operate starting in 2022. Photo: Grambeau

The proposed development of a nuclear power facility near Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa has led to outrage among some surfers and members of the local community. Construction on the power plant, which has been hotly debated, is scheduled to begin as early as next year at Thyspunt, located 10 miles from J-Bay.

When constructed, the plant at Thypsunt will become largest nuclear power facility in the country. It’s been estimated that the earliest the plant could become operational would be in 2022.

Some reports estimate that 6.3 million cubic meters of sand will be pumped offshore during the construction of the power plant. Critics argue that the influx of sand could greatly affect the quality of the lineup at J-Bay, which could also hamper the local economy. The South African government formally finished their initiative to increase nuclear power on March 16, 2011, just five days after the nuclear crisis in Fukushima.

In a quote posted on SaveTheWaves.org, Mick Fanning raised his opposition to the construction of the plant.

“The out of sight out of mind attitude must stop now, if dumping the sand on land is seen as a fatal flaw, why would it be OK to pump it into the sea?” said Fanning. “A development of this size on a stretch of coastline known for some of the best surf breaks in the world is unacceptable and it will cause massive damage to the environment.”

The South African government has stated that one of the primary reasons for their support of nuclear power stems from their desire to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. A large portion of the energy that South Africa currently consumes is derived from coal. A recent UN report ranked South Africa as the 14th largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

In an interview with Ventures Magazine, South Africa Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe said that, “It has become crystal-clear that coal is not a long-term solution of our needs. Because of coal, our country is listed among the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide.”