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:
- Yogyakarta, Central Java. This is the Kartini nuclear research reactor.
- Serpong (Banten).This is the MPR RSG-GA Siwabessy research reactor.
- 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:
- Muria, Central Java.
- Gorontalo, in the north of Sulawesi.
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.
Indonesia has various reasons for wanting to build nuclear reactors:
- Domestic energy consumption in Indonesia is growing rapidly.
- 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.
- If domestic energy consumption can be provided through nuclear energy, it may be possible to export more oil.
- Producing other renewable energy from other sources, such as wind power and solar power, are far more expensive.
- Japan, like Indonesia, earthquakes frequently occur, has nuclear reactors.
- The emission of harmful gases can be reduced.
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.