Narraville wants to toyi-toyi against nuclear storage facility

WALVIS BAY: The community of Narraville in Walvis Bay is busy mobilising all residents of the harbour town to stage a peaceful demonstration against the planned storage of dangerous goods near their residential area.

The companies Native Storage Facility and Enviro Solutions made proposals to the Walvis Bay local authority, the Namibian Port Authority (Namport) and other stakeholders on collecting all dangerous goods stored around Walvis Bay for safe storage in the facility.

Residents are strongly opposing the storage of the dangerous goods, including explosives and radioactive material, near the residential area as they say they fear for their lives and the future of their children.

Narraville resident Stan Baumann, who spoke on behalf of the residents, told Nampa on Tuesday the community is busy informing the whole town and collecting signatures for a petition.

The demonstration is expected to take place on 01 July, and a petition will be handed over to the Municipality of Walvis Bay on the day.

“We have already drawn up a petition to be handed over to the relevant authority. We want to make sure they hear our objections beforehand. We do not want surprises at all,” Baumann said.

He further stated that they are collecting as many signatures as possible to help them prove that the majority of the town opposes the planned storage facility near the harbour town.

The goods are to be stored in a communication bunker formerly used by the South African army. It is located less than 30 kilometres south of Walvis Bay.

These are goods exported/imported between Namibia and other countries through the port of Walvis Bay.

The residents said although the idea to control the storage of such dangerous goods is good, the proposed location for storage is not acceptable and they want it to be located far from any town.

The owner of Enviro Solutions, Alan Jenneker on Tuesday said a meeting to discuss the way forward on the matter was held between his company, the local authority of Walvis Bay and other stakeholders.

Jenneker noted that they are now waiting for the municipality to pronounce itself on what should be done next.

“We spoke with the council and deliberated on issues such as an alternative site other than the bunker, as well as consideration of future town planning to make sure the location of the facility is safe,” he said.

The goods would include dangerous goods in various classes: class one being explosives; class two – gases; class three – flammable liquids; class four – flammable solids or substances; class five – oxidising substances; class six – toxic substances; and class seven – radioactive materials.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Namibian Port Authority (Namport), Bisey /Uirab earlier this month however said no nuclear waste or other forms of radioactive materials lands at the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.

He responded in a media statement following concerns and queries by residents that some of such dangerous goods could be nuclear waste.

“As per our records, and since the inception of Namport in 1994, no nuclear waste or any other form of radioactive goods has landed at the Namibian ports. The only exception is the export uranium oxide (yellow cake from the Namibian Uranium Mines). Due to the low radiation levels, this cargo is only allowed three days storage in the port before shipment,” he said in a statement.

The CEO said though Namport recognises that the establishment of such a facility will have positive spin-offs for Namibia, the ports authority has no direct or indirect interest in the establishment of a hazardous cargo facility intended to be erected by Native Storage Facility.

Other consulted stakeholders in the project are the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Safety and Security, Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and the Ministry of Works and Transport.