In an open letter, our member organisation in Africa asks Greenpeace to reconsider its opposition to nuclear power. Please read the full letter below.
Photo: Tim Johnson/Unsplash
October 13, 2023
We write to you as concerned citizens of Africa, with a deep-rooted interest in the sustainable development of our continent. We appreciate the commendable work you have undertaken over the years to safeguard the environment and advocate for a greener and cleaner world.
Nevertheless, today, we request a re-evaluation of your stance on carbon-free nuclear power. We implore you to reconsider your opposition, which, in our view, is manifested through campaigns and court cases that are devoid of meaningful impact.
Africa, endowed with abundant natural resources, notably extensive uranium reserves, stands at a crossroads. Despite this wealth, nearly 600 million Africans lack access to reliable energy sources, and numerous African nations grapple with debilitating energy shortages, impeding both social and economic progress.
Despite Africa's extensive uranium reserves, nearly 600 million Africans lack access to reliable energy sources
While we acknowledge that your opposition to nuclear energy has predominantly focused on Europe, we wish to emphasise that what affects Europe sooner or later affects Africa. We question your stance on nuclear energy, a power source with the potential to help Africa bridge the energy deficit and empower African countries to achieve a sustainable and prosperous future.
Nuclear energy offers a viable alternative to fossil fuels, which are notorious contributors to carbon emissions and climate change. Your commitment to combating climate change aligns with the global consensus on urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Paradoxically, by opposing nuclear power, which emits minimal carbon dioxide during operation, you inadvertently obstruct Africa’s effective transition from fossil fuels and alleviation of the strain on the forests powering most kitchens on the continent through charcoal and wood.
We acknowledge the concerns regarding safety and waste disposal in the context of nuclear energy. However, we urge you to recognise the considerable technological and operational safety advancements achieved.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plays a pivotal role in setting standards, providing oversight, and ensuring responsible nuclear programmes. African nations can establish robust regulatory frameworks prioritising safety and environmental protection, as evidenced by South Africa’s incident-free century of nuclear energy use.
The nuclear industry has made notable strides in waste reduction and efficient disposal methods. Advances in reprocessing technologies and the creation of advanced reactors promise effective long-term solutions to nuclear waste concerns.
Engaging with African nations in developing nuclear energy programs would allow you to influence these efforts, ensuring stringent waste management and disposal protocols from the outset, rather than obstructing the potential of technology to mitigate climate change and drive growth.
Nuclear power presents a unique opportunity for Africa to leverage its resources, bridge the energy gap, combat climate change, and stimulate socio-economic growth
Dear Greenpeace, we acknowledge that Africa’s renewable energy potential alone cannot meet current and projected energy demand. While solar, wind and hydro-electric power are integral components of Africa’s sustainable energy mix, they are often constrained by geography and weather conditions, exposing African economies to intermittent power supply. Nuclear energy, with its consistent and base-load supply, can complement these renewable sources, stabilising the grid and ensuring energy security for African communities.
We implore you to reconsider your opposition to nuclear energy, as the arguments against it are not grounded in evidence or scientific truth. The development of nuclear power presents a unique opportunity for Africa to leverage its resources, bridge the energy gap, combat climate change, and stimulate socio-economic growth.
Director, RePlanet Africa