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Inside Indonesia’s nuclear dream via Channel News Asia

Nuclear energy is on the cards for energy-hungry Indonesia. Channel NewsAsia gets a look inside the country’s nuclear research reactor and asks the experts if the country is ready for its own atomic power plant.

JAKARTA: Indonesia is on track for the construction of its first experimental nuclear power reactor in Serpong, Banten, near Jakarta, putting the country one step closer to building a fully operational nuclear power plant.

The people behind the reactor are aiming to meet President Joko Widodo’s goal of building new power stations to supply 35 gigawatts worth of power to meet the archipelago’s energy needs, but many in the country remain divided.

“In our opinion, like or dislike, nuclear must be included for the demand of electricity by 2025,” said Dr Taswanda Taryo, deputy chairman of Nuclear Energy Technology at the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN).


Dr Dohee Hahn, a director at IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Power said the IAEA does not certify any country as being fit or unfit for nuclear power, nor does it ascertain whether a nuclear power plant is being operated safely. Both are responsibilities of national regulators.

What the IAEA does prescribe for countries with nuclear ambitions is a Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organisation (NEPIO) to lead and manage efforts in developing nuclear power plant programmes.

Indonesia does not have an entity such as NEPIO, but BATAN is optimistic that it is well-equipped to build a nuclear power plant.


Said Dr Djarot Wisnubroto, the chairman at the nuclear agency: “Well, we say we live in the Ring of Fire. The fact is that some parts of Indonesia are not on the Ring of Fire. In Kalimantan, in Bangka and even near Singapore on Batam island. That side is a good and appropriate site for the nuclear power plant.”

Other proposed sites include West and East Kalimantan. However, Mr Fiyanto believes places like Kalimantan are not immune to earthquakes.

“They use the argument that Kalimantan is safe from earthquakes and that it is not vulnerable to natural disasters. They keep using that argument, but a big earthquake hit East Kalimantan right on the proposed site of the nuclear power plant”, said Mr Fiyanto, referring to a 6.1-magnitude earthquake on Dec 21 last year.

Read more at Inside Indonesia’s nuclear dream

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