Station to Station

I dropped the boy off early at school the nuclear power station this morning. The traffic back looked awful, so despite it being a rather grey, miserable day, I decided to delay my trip back home by having a wander along Melkbosstrand beach. Never having been to Melkbosstrand before, I decided to head for the Atlantic Ocean and then stop just before I got my tyres wet and walk from there. This approach worked well, and delivered me to the parking lot outside the local NSRI station. From there, I shot this:

…which shows just how close the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station was to my chosen start point.
Couple of kilometres, max, right?



I hopelessly misunderestimated the distance. As a wandered along the rather nondescript beach, the power station slowly moved away from me. Or did the beach between us elongate? I didn’t seem to be getting any closer.


I don’t give up though, and even though last night’s energetic game of football had taken its toll on me, I kept going. It turned out to be about 5kms before I was met by this sign:

That’ll stop the terrorists.

You’ll note that the actual power station still doesn’t seem to have got any closer.

Anyway, I thought that I’d better not go any further. After all, the sign says you mustn’t, and who’s about to disobey the Sea-shore [sic] Act 21 of 1935. Not I. Even if it has apparently (and unsurprisingly) been repealed. After all, Section 10, subsection 2  warns us:

Any regulation may provide a penalty, not exceeding a
fine of twenty-five  pounds, for any contravention thereof or
failure to comply therewith.

25 quid is nearly R500 (per baboon). They’re not messing around here.

This sign seemed like a good place to turn around, given that much like the previous five kilometres, I wasn’t going to get any closer to the power station. It was then I found that I was going to have to face the rather stiff breeze for the duration of the journey back to the car.

I might have misunderestimated that as well. Blowy.

In fact, it turned out that it was so windy that my gait was shortened enough for my watch to think that I was climbing stairs. 5km of them, starting at sea level and finishing at… well… also sea level.

I made it back, feeling smooth, energised, and smelling like tiramisu, and headed back home. A morning well spent, and I get to do it all again this afternoon – well, the driving bit, anyway.

I didn’t take my camera onto the near deserted beach. This is South Africa and one doesn’t take that sort of risk when one doesn’t know the area and there’s no-one around. It would have been fine, but there was nothing much to ‘tog anyway, so I didn’t miss out. Melkbosstrand might be nice in the summer (although I have no evidence), but it wasn’t much to write home about on a chilly, windy October morning.

Funny, not funny

Nuclear disasters aren’t very amusing. Fortunately, they only happen very, very occasionally: so much so that you can probably only name the same Big Three that I can.

This story references a nuclear disaster that hasn’t happened yet. Indeed, there’s no evidence or suggestion that it ever will. And that’s why I feel that I’m allowed to find it a bit amusing.

First off, in the event of a nuclear accident at Koeberg (Koeberg being our local nuclear power station (the only one in Africa, nogal)), my first instinct would not be to head to the city centre anyway. Given that Koeberg is pretty much in the bottom corner of Africa, I would hesitate to head further into the bottom corner of Africa should there be any sort of radioactive leak.

That’s not where you want to be. Especially if it’s going to take you three hours to get there.

Additionally, should Koeberg go bang bang, residents in (Uns)Table View will surely not be the only ones anxious to vacate the general area. I reside in the much more gentile, verdant, pleasant surroundings of the Southern Suburbs, but in the unlikely event of Koeberg going off, I’m not going to hang around to see what happens next: I’m heading out of Cape Town along with everyone else. I’ll review the situation from the interminable queues in godforsaken Somerset West or something. I shouldn’t really have to say this, but Table View’s local traffic congestion is really just one small part of a much, much bigger problem if one or both of our local nuclear reactors happen to meltdown.

But then, why would you drive anyway?

Another resident, Cindy Welch, said it recently took her an hour to reach Table View High School, which is four kilometres away from her home, due to traffic congestion.

You’re not stuck in the traffic, Cindy; you are the traffic.

Four kilometres is entirely walkable. Or jogable. Or cyclable. Especially if the motorised alternative is going to take an hour. And even more so if there’s a big explodey mushroom cloud lighting up the sky behind you. I reckon you’d be shocked as to how quickly you can get yourself 4km from your current location with just the gentle persuasion of an impending nuclear catastrophe for assistance, Cindy.

Of course, all this is assuming the worst case scenario, which is a full reactor core meltdown at 8am on a wet Monday morning in August.

And that’s a rather pessimistic approach, isn’t it?

There are many other days, other times and other prevailing meteorological conditions on and under which Koeberg might conceivably explode. For example, it might happen 3am on a Sunday and the roads of Table View might be completely empty.

In which case, a quick getaway is almost completely guaranteed.

So why are we spending millions and millions of Rands on bigger roads, just in case the apocalypse happens during morning rush hour? Madness.

I’m here to suggest a controversial – but actually rather reasonable – alternative. Instead of building more roads connecting Table View to everywhere else, why not just build a Big Wall and isolate Table View from everywhere else?

Hear. Me. Out.

Firstly, this will clearly benefit anyone living outside Table View. Remember that:

approximately 40 500 people use the R27 from Table View to the city each day

well, they’ll immediately be taken out of the equation and will be unable to cause congestion on the other major escape routes out of the city, meaning that other, normal people will have more chance of survival.
Additionally, if the wall is big enough, it might actually contain some of the nuclear fallout from any Koeberg disaster.

Double bonus.

And as for the unfortunate residents of Table View, well, are they really any worse off?

No. Not at all.

As this news article clearly states, they were never going to successfully make it out alive anyway. You’re never going to outrun a deadly cloud of enriched uranium particles going at four kilometres an hour. It’ll take you an hour to even get to the High School, which – like you – will be completely and overwhelmingly contaminated by the time you get there. You might as well just stay where you are and see if you develop any (more) interesting mutations ahead of your inevitable death.

The City of Cape Town don’t have a great record in listening to my amazing ideas, but I suppose that they might have seen the whole iceberg thing as being a bridge too far. Simply diverting funds which have already been allocated for road building on the West Coast across to wall building on the West Coast really doesn’t seem too difficult, especially given the evidence I have presented here.

I’ll sent Patricia an email – I’m sure she’s not got much on her plate at the moment.

Koeberg go woo-woo

Just a reminder that Koeberg Power Station will be conducting a full volume test of its siren and public announcement system between 10:00 & 12:00 today.

Eskom’s Khulu Phasiwe stated that testing of the siren and PA system is done once a year as part of Koeberg’s emergency preparedness, in line with its licensing conditions.

Residents within 16km of the power station have already been notified, and need not panic as this is only a test.

However, if past tests are anything to go by, it’s likely that the sirens will be more effective than the notifications, so you can help by sharing the link to this post all over the Melkbos and (Uns)Table View Facebook groups.

Although, why you would be in those groups is a bit beyond me.