Dr David Fig is a South African sociologist, author of the book 'Uranium Road: Questioning South Africa's Nuclear Direction', and Biowatch South Africa's chairperson.
For more on the South African GM scientist and lobbyist Jennifer Thomson see: 'Jennifer Thomson lying Down Under'
[via the GM_Free_Africa list]
Jennifer Thomson, darling of GM-industry-supported AfricaBio, UCT microbiology professor, and strong advocate of GMOs, has just accepted membership of the board of the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Company.
The Pebble Bed Co is seeking to tie South Africa into a further round of commitments to the nuclear industry. 85% owned by government, it is plannnig to spend a total of R15.9 billion on the establishment of a fuel plant and a pilot pebble bed reactor at Koeberg. It hopes to commercialise this reactor, foist it onto the South African taxpayer, as well as exporting it if it can find any clients. Despite the outcome of the new EIA being unclear, contracts are already being handed out to construction and engineerinig companies.
Thomson's appointment comes as no surprise to anti-GM and anti-nuclear campaigners, who see strong similarities in the way the respective unsustainable technologies have been adopted in South Africa. Both technologies represent false paths for development here and further afield. Yet both technologies are supported by government which believes that they are integral to our economic growth. Both technologies are likely to leave a legacy of social misery and environmental degradation in their wake. They feed into corporate greed and abuse of our natural resources for narrow private gain at the expense of jobs and environmental security. Nuclear expansion in particular brings back the need for a "security state" which we thought we had jettisoned after apartheid.
Thomson's acceptance of a position on the PBMR Co board is a further nail in the coffin of her scientific reputation. When asked why she felt the need to do this she responded, "anything to infuriate the greenies". Little does Thomson realise her own naivete will count against her in the long run, as even broader constituencies take note of her slavish support for technologies which rupture the path towards broad social and ecological justice.
Johannesburg, 18h45CAT 18 August 2006