PRETORIA. Power utility Eskom has denied that it shelved plans to build new nuclear power stations because senior management feared the reactors would "turn staff into mutant were-lizards", instead citing rising costs.
It has also announced plans to slash costs by producing no electricity in 2009, which is slightly more than it produced in 2007. Addressing journalists at Eskom's headquarters in Megawatt Park this morning, spokesman Megawattwatt Mopanyana conceded that senior management were relieved that the nuclear option had become too expensive.
"Obviously we understood the basic physics of nuclear energy," said Mopanyana. "But some grey areas remained."
For example, senior management was never clear on how severely one needed to be bitten by a radioactive spider to be given superpowers. "Also if you are trapped inside the reactor during a planetary alignment, is it the new fuel rods or the spent ones that make you grow raptor wings and develop x-ray vision?"
However he vehemently denied that senior management had feared that reactor workers would be transformed into were-lizards, adding that they had consulted with reptile experts from the Johannesburg Zoo who had confirmed that any such transformation was highly unlikely and had only been recorded on one occasion, at a Kurt Darren concert on the East Rand.
Mopanyana also used the opportunity to urge South Africans to continue conserving electricity, saying that they would need to start cutting their energy usage "by about 100 percent" from next year.
"We at Eskom are painfully aware of the current global economic slump," he said. "Which is why we've not only shelved our nuclear plans but all plans involving the generation of electricity by any means." He said that it was time to embrace "electrical ubuntu". "Basically what this translates as is 'I am cooking over a candle because you are cooking over a candle'."
And if we're both cooking over a candle, we're not using expensive and polluting electricity.
"Ultimately we all win. "But not as much as senior management, who will still get their bonuses."