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South African Water Conference

Ralph T. Niemeyer, SA-Water Conference 2012

The Fukushima nuclear power accident drew the interest of German investigative journalist and feature-documentary film producer Ralph T. Niemeyer,  who says that he got most impressed by his colleague Rupert Neudeck, the founder of “Cap Anamur” NGO rescuing ‘boat-people’ – refugees from Vietnam, not only because of the magnitude of the catastrophe that by putting 1500 tons of nuclear material at risk is bearing the threat to become 8 times bigger than the reactor explosion of Chernobyl that in 1986 involved 187 tons of nuclear material, but also made him become very wary of the water contamination, a matter he had researched already in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster.


Being one of the pioneers of West-German filmmaking in the Soviet Union with productions such as “Chaikovsky’s Spring Symphony”, “The Duell of Alexander Pushkin”, “Shadow over Moscow”, “Under the Sign of the Scorpion (Maxim Gorky)”, “Road to Paradise” with Alexander Proshkin (“Cold Summer ’53”) and “No Peace. Never.”, Ralph T. Niemeyer worked many times in the Soviet Union and also interviewed President Mikhail S. Gorbachev several times during the introduction of Perestroika and Glasnost.


USSR-President Mikhail S. Gorbachev in 1991

Chernobyl made Niemeyer become an anti-nuclear- and pro-water – activist since he interviewed those Russian scientists who started to clear the water at the Prypyat river from the nuclear fall out. But, Niemeyer continued to pursue his carreer as an economic editor in Brussels for EUreporter, New Europe,  EUtoday.net and EUchronicle and produced political documentaries about Argentina, Venezuela and Bolivia and published 13 books.

When he moved back to Moscow in 2008 for completing studies of Water engineering, Atomic Fusion and Atomic Physics at the I.V. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Russian Space Industry, he started to work with the scientists in a military research company on developing a reverse osmosis based technology that can filter heavy metals, arsenics, nitrates, resistant bacteria and radioactive substances such as Caesium 134, Iodium and Tritium out of water. The technology won the gold medal at EUREKA in Brussels in 2009 and first projects were planned in Argentina, South Africa and Dubai. A desalination plant was deployed in the United Arab Emirate’s Silicon Valley.

Four months after the Tsunami that hit Japan on 11 March 2011 caused the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, Niemeyer travelled to Tokyo and offered Russian assistance for clearing the water in Fukushima that was continuously being used for cooling the reactor of which by July 2011 already 11 million litres had been accumulated.

However, the Japanese officials friendly rejected the offer pointing out that Toshiba had developed a filter that could seperate nuclear particles as well which 2 years later has been found not to be very effective. Meanwhile, 800 tons of water were used per day to cool the reactor and when Niemeyer, who shot a documentary film in Japan “Hibakusha: from Hiro- to Fukushima”, asked the Japanese bureaucrats and government ministers why one used sea water from the Pacific which because of the mineral concentration posed an even bigger problem carrying more radioactivity than sweetwater would, the answer was that it was cheaper. 400 tons of the cooling water trickles into the groundwater near the reactor and finds it’s way into the Pacific Ocean causing higher bq/l levels in Hawaii and California.

In 2012 Niemeyer spoke with Russian foreign minister Lavrov urging him to offer Russian help on the highest level but the answer from the Japanese side stoically was that everything was under control. Mr. Lavrov added that Japan and Russia yet had no peace treaty which also made cooperation difficult. When a year later the Japanese government learnt that TEPCO and Toshiba clearly were incompetent to resolve the Fukushima water crisis, in October 2013 an international tender was launched in which 779 companies from all over the world participated. Niemeyer handed in the Russian proposals.

Foreign minister Lavrov signed a military cooperation agreement with his Japanese counterpart at the end of 2013 and finally, in August 2014, the Japanese government announced that three companies had been selected: GE, Hitachi and RosROA from Russia which also incorporated Niemeyer’s proposals.
The next steps are to deploy the prototype technology on the ground in Fukushima in spring 2016.

Art Aqua is more than a reverse osmosis technology, it is also a philosophical concept: to combine nature, humanitarian desires and climate to make our planet liveable again. The company is operating strictly under ordoliberal philosophy providing safe, healthy, clean water for all social classes while reinvesting 100% of Profits into research and development.

The technology is being patented by Ralph T. Niemeyer at the European Patent Office under EP14168773.1 & 2015051917390100DE and is protected as well by the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Being an anti-corruption activist throughout his life which frequently got him into the line of fire, Niemeyer is dedicated to adhere to business ethics and does not tolerate any bribing.

Art Aqua is a proud member of the UN global compact