The crackling of power lines

The crackling of power lines
Standing below these high tension power lines the crackling and buzzing of the electricity flowing through the wires grabbed our attention, fading out almost every other sound. It felt dangerous to be here and the lyrics of Aerosmith's Living on the Edge instantly came to mind - the chorus repeating in my mind as though being played by an old scratched LP.

Most of Cape Town's electricity is supplied by the two nuclear reactors at Eskom's Koeberg power station (map), located just outside of the coastal town of Melkbos. One of the reactors was shut down on 28 October for repairs - which effectively halved the station's power output causing the Western Cape to rely more heavily on power from the coal-based power from the Johannesburg area. After being down for more than a month Eskom recently announced that it had fired up the second reactor after successfully concluding repairs.

The use of nuclear power has been hotly contested for many years, and the recent disaster in Japan gave rise to even more concern over the proximity of the nuclear power station to Cape Town. I'm sure that in the possibly-unlikely event a disaster at the plant we'd all regret not getting rid of the nuclear power station years ago, but on the other hand I can't help but wonder of the amount of pollution released by coal-based power-plants warrants the relatively small risk. What do you think?

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