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Nuclear Power in Indonesia

The nuclear program of Indonesia includes plans to build nuclear reactors in the country to produce nuclear power for peaceful purposes. The national legislative organ for nuclear energy, Badan Pengawas Tenaga Nuklir (BAPETEN), was founded in 1998. The name of the national agency of atomic energy is BATAN. Decades earlier, research on atomic energy was started in Indonesia. Apart for producing electricity, nuclear technology is also applied for medical purposes and agricultural purposes, for the use of genetic manipulation.
Plans for an atomic program were mostly shelved in 1997 due to the discovery of the Natuna gas field, but have been revived since 2005.
Indonesia has stated that the program will be developed in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). For this reason, Mohammed ElBaradei was invited to visit the country in December 2006.

Protests against plans for nuclear power have occurred in June 2007 near Central Java as well as an upsurge in mid 2007.

Locations of nuclear reactors

For research purposes, experimental nuclear reactors have already been built in Indonesia:

  1. Yogyakarta, Central Java. This is the Kartini nuclear research reactor.
  2. Serpong (Banten).This is the MPR RSG-GA Siwabessy research reactor.
  3. Bandung, West Java. This is the Triga Mark II nuclear research reactor.

Various locations have been proposed for building nuclear reactors that will actually be taken into production for the purpose of generating electricity:

  1. Muria, Central Java.
  2. Gorontalo, in the north of Sulawesi.

Natural Resources

Indonesia has at least two uranium mines, the Remaja-Hitam and Rirang-Tanah Merah mines. These are located in the west of Kalimantan. If these uranium resources appear to be insufficient, the country has the option of importing uranium from friendly nations.

Cooperation with other countries

In 2006 Indonesia signed treaties for nuclear cooperation with various countries, including South Korea, Russia, Australia and the United States. Australia has indicated that it does not have problems with supplying Indonesia with uranium for peaceful purposes, and there is an agreement with a Russian company to build a floating nuclear reactor in Gorontalo.

Motivation

Indonesia has various reasons for wanting to build nuclear reactors:

  1. Domestic energy consumption in Indonesia is growing rapidly.
  2. Nuclear energy will reduce dependence on petroleum, a now-renewable resourse. Indonesia, an OPEC member and long-time net oil exporter became a net importer of oil at the beginning of 2005. Nuclear energy, like coal, natural gas, and biofuel (from plants such as Jatropha curcas or the castor oil plant) may allow Indonesia to diversify from petroleum.
  3. If domestic energy consumption can be provided through nuclear energy, it may be possible to export more oil.
  4. Producing other renewable energy from other sources, such as wind power and solar power, are far more expensive.
  5. Japan, like Indonesia, earthquakes frequently occur, has nuclear reactors.
  6. The emission of harmful gases can be reduced.

Criticism

The nuclear plans of Indonesia have met with criticism from Greenpeace and other groups and individuals. In June 2007, nearly 4,000 protesters rallied in Indonesia’s Central Java, calling on the Government to abandon plans to build a nuclear power plant on the outskirts of their city. Specific concerns included the dangers posed by nuclear waste, and the location of the country on the Pacific Ring of Fire, with much geological activity such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, which could make it dangerous to have nuclear reactors there.

Source

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Nuclear Power in Indonesia

  1. Well, before I read this blog, I have no idea that Indonesia has uranium mines in Kalimantan I thought we have it somewhere in Papua.
    Silly me..

    However, recently from what I heard, Muria power plant -in plan- is considered to be moved to another location.

    Posted by rere | 23 May 2008, 1:34 pm
  2. Hi! Really good information, I have bookmarked your site, perhaps you would like to take a look at http://www.bio-partners.co.uk as we have some information you may find usefull in the members area – Keep up the Good Work!

    Posted by Tim Andrews | 5 January 2010, 8:30 pm

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