Eskom on Tuesday welcomed the clearance by the Council for Geoscience (CGS) of the proposed Thyspunt site in Port Elizabeth as an area for the construction of a nuclear installation.
In a statement, the CGS said there was nothing in the geology, bedrock topography or seismology of the proposed Thyspunt nuclear site to disqualify the area for the construction of a nuclear installation.
This comes after Eskom studied the seismic and tsunami risks at the Thyspunt site through data collection designed to estimate regional uplift and deformation rates, earthquake potential, geological faults, marine terrace, fault corridor studies and trenching.
Eskom said these studies led to the recovery of numerous rock samples that were dated using a variety of techniques and provided conclusive evidence that allowed five faults to be definitively classified as non-seismogenic.
Eskom had been studying the area since the South African Heritage Resources Council failed to approve Thypunt as being a suitable site for a nuclear power plant due to the sensitive nature of the area.
The CGS, in a statement, said it had undertaken a number of geoscientific investigations over the past two decades to assess the suitability of several coastal localities for the development of critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants.
This research encompassed seismic monitoring, geological mapping and specialised, neotectonic studies to assess hazards of a geological nature.
The CGS said meticulous care was taken to ensure that this work achieved internationally-accepted standards.
“Based on the extensive geoscientific database established for the Thyspunt locality and surrounding region, as well as a significant body of research undertaken to date, we are confident that the site geology is well understood and that all potential major geological hazards have been identified and considered,” the CGS said in a statement.
“From a public and nuclear safety perspective, there is nothing in the geology, bed rock topography or seismology of the region that disqualifies the Thyspunt site for the construction of a nuclear installation. The CGS takes this opportunity to reassure the South African public that the utmost care and due diligence were exercised when conducting all work for the Thyspunt site.”
Meanwhile, Eskom said the power utility would this week issue a request for proposals inviting bidders to add 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power to the national grid.