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Nuclear News

ASEAN Goes to Nuclear Power

On October 16, 2008, I had a chance to attend The 10th Korea-ASEAN Forum in Press Center Building, Seoul, Korea. In this forum there were 3 keynote speakers, two of them were Philipinos and the only woman was Indonesian. They were Mr. Rodolfo C. Severino, Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte. Jr, and  Dr. Chusnul Mar’iyah as the first, second and third speaker repectively. The first speaker who is former ASEAN secretary-general, talked about the development of ASEAN-Korea relations. It comprised the current and past activities and programs conducted by both sides.

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The second speaker, Mr. Uriarte who is currently managing as executive director ASEAN Foundation gave an explanation on Korea-ASEAN Foundation cooperation.

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While the last speaker sounded Indonesia-Korea relations: challenges and obstacles in the era of democratization and globalization. Dr. Chusnul much more focused on the democratization process in Indonesia than explaining ASEAN itself.

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After long explanation, 30 minutes of each, there was a discussion between the speakers and the floors who are mainly the Southeast Asian studies professors. Nothing special, just like any conference or seminar, all was in common.

The next session was then followed by question-answer session for others floors. As a response, there were 3 questions from graduate students in which all of them are Indonesian. I have an opportunity for the last questioner in this forum. Well, it was quite nervous since I was standing in front of the person who were not the same in background. Perhaps, only me in that room who is an engineer. I was asking about whether there is a program or plan or activity from ASEAN to make a policy in utilizing nuclear energy as an option to meet the increased demand of energy in ASEAN countries. And, I just wanted to know about their opinion about using nuclear energy in ASEAN countries especially by collaborating with Korea as a prestigious country operating nuclear power plant safely.

My question was excellently answered by all of the speakers. Mr. Severino stated that the ASEAN countries should honestly consider the using of nuclear energy as their alternative energy. He added, to show a commitment of ASEAN to use the clean energy, which is low carbon emission, there will be ASEAN workshop discussing nuclear energy issues in the ASEAN countries. He believed that nuclear energy is a clean energy that eventually will chelp ope the climate change. However, he didn’t specify where and when this workshop will be held. The same sound statements were given by Dr. Uriarte who was the former secretary minister of science and technology of Philippine. Also, the positive response came from Dr. Chusnul. Mar’iyah. She encouraged the Indonesian government to utilize of this nuclear energy for Indonesian electricity. She remembered the Indonesian history of nuclear power which came after Prof. Dr. B.J Habibie was in managing as minister of science and technology of republic of Indonesian in Soeharto’s cabinets.

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