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Nuclear Safety and Environmental Crisis Caused by the Russian War in Ukraine

March 19, 2023 | 0 Comments

UAZA invites you to join the online event

“Just Peace dialogue Ukraine – South Africa: Nuclear Safety & Environmental consequences of the Russian invasion.” 

Date: 28 March 2023 (Tuesday) 

Time: 03:00 PM 

Duration: 2 hours 

Language: English 

Please register in advance for this meeting following the link>>>

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].


In February 2022 two of Ukrainian NPP’s (Chornobyl and Zaporizhzhia) were occupied. ChNPP was occupied for the period of 24 Feb- 31 March 2022 that resulted in serious violation of nuclear safety rules among which mining of the exclusion zone as well as 4 weeks – no rotation or return home for stuff. Several (out of 5) Ukrainian NPPs came under direct shelling and Zaporizhzia NPP has suffered a loss of offsite power for six times. 

Russian invasion compromised all of the IAEA’s seven indispensable pillars for ensuring nuclear safety and security: physical integrity of nuclear facilities; the operation of safety and security systems; the working conditions of staff; supply chains, communication channels, radiation monitoring and emergency arrangements; and the crucial off-site power supply.

In addition, the Russian invasion resulted in destruction of local ecosystems, land mining of the territory, industrial pollution and significant increase of greenhouse emissions as war-related greenhouse gas emissions during February and September 2022 only are estimated at 97 million tCO2e.

The energy crisis and the choice of technology is the pressing issue for South Africa. The country has faced a political crisis when the pro-russian forces were promoting nuclear energy and blocking the development of renewable energy projects in 2013-2017. 

South Africa is the only country on the African continent that has a nuclear power station. However, russian state nuclear company Rosatom is proactively promoting nuclear power on the continent. In 2012 one of three international offices of ‘Rosatom’ was opened in Johannesburg, to cover nuclear projects being considered in Southern and Central Africa. Since then, Russia has signed over 20 memoranda of understanding and a number of agreements of cooperation with African countries.

In South Africa the anti-nuclear movement has remained very strong since 1994, when Nelson Mandela opened a dialogue with the society around the environmental issues. The environmental organisations have proven their strength when representatives of SAFCEI and Earth Life Africa overruled by the Western Cape High Court in April 2017 the plans of Putin and Zuma to build 9,6 GW NPP in South Africa. This project was meant to be the driver of Russian nuclear technology exports in Southern Africa. This nuclear programme procurement, valued in 2013 at an estimated $72 billion (R1 trillion), would have been the single largest public infrastructure procurement project in South Africa’s history.

UAZA is partnering with SAFCEI to discuss the issues of Nuclear Safety & Environmental consequences of the Russian invasion for Ukraine – South Africa.

Key Questions to be Discussed

  1. What are the environmental consequences of the Russian invasion in Ukraine? 
  2. What is the situation at the Ukrainian NPPs and how the safety is maintained? 
  3. What are the key risks that African countries face if they develop energy dependency on Russia?
  4. What does this mean for South Africa and what SA civil society can do to reduce environmental impact on the planet from Russian invasion


Francesca de Gasparis, SAFCEI


South Africa

Francesca de Gasparis is the Executive Director of SAFCEI. Previously she was Director of the Green Belt Movement International – Europe (GBMI). Francesca ran GBMI Europe since its inception in 2005, after Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She has a master’s degree in Environment and Community from Antioch University and has worked on environmental issues for eighteen years.  Her focus has been on advocacy, policy and climate change strategies within a gender and justice frame. She has worked with numerous NGOs in Africa on sustainable development and a holistic environmental approach, helping to ensure NGOs have the support they need to deliver on their aims.

Event Organisers

SAFCEI (Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute) 

SAFCEI is a multi-faith organisation committed to supporting faith leaders and their communities in Southern Africa to increase awareness, understanding and action on eco-justice, sustainable living and climate change.

It was launched in 2005 after a multi-faith environment conference which called for the establishment of a faith-based environment initiative. We have a broad spectrum of membership, including African Traditional Healers, Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Quaker, and a wide range of Christian denominations.

We emphasise the spiritual and moral imperative to care for the Earth and the community of all life. We call for ethical leadership from all in power and speak out on issues of eco-justice, encouraging citizen action.

The Koeberg Alert Alliance (KAA)

KAA is a group of organisations and individuals concerned about nuclear reactors at Koeberg (which is 28 km from Cape Town) and opposed to the building of further nuclear reactors at Koeberg,

The KAA has been very active in participating in the Environmental Impact Assessment Process (EIA) process for Nuclear-1, and seeks to inform Capetonians about the issues around Nuclear Power, and spread information about the latest status of Koeberg.

The KAA has also launched PAIA applications, such as for the Koeberg Emergency Response plan, which was refused by Eskom in 2010.

Ukrainian Association of South Africa (UAZA)

Ukrainian Association of South Africa (NPO 189-705) is a collaborative association registered in May 2017 that promotes networks between Ukrainians and South Africans for mutual development, increased awareness and inner growth of individuals and societies. For more information www.uaza.co.za or [email protected]