"In the Spotlight"

Indonesia to go nuclear

Watch Indonesia!, 30 November 2011

by Alex Flor

Probably Indonesia’s minister for state enterprises is right, if he supposes a dramatic growth of energy consumption. However, in Germany we have our own experiences with forecasts on energy consumption in the 1970s which never realized. However, these forecasts were instrumental in promoting nuclear energy.

Why should there be no other choice for Indonesia than nuclear power? Why is the minister not promoting “green” energies? The contribution of solar and wind power to Indonesia’s energy mix is close to zero – hardly acceptable in view of the country’s situation right on the equator with thousands of kilometers of coastlines.

Few countries on earth are prone to such an extremly high risk of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions as Japan, but Indonesia is certainly on top of that list. And it will take many more years of development until the idea that Indonesia is superior to Japan in terms of high technology (including operation and maintenance!) is anything else than a mere joke.

A modern nuclear power plant may be provided with a containment strong enough to resist the crash of an airplane. Still, nobody will believe in its safety, if this plant is located on the island of Mount Krakatau. Bangka island is 300 km north of Krakatau. Far enough to feel safe?




Jakarta Globe – November 29, 2011


Increasing energy demands will force Indonesia to go nuclear: Minister

Ririn Radiawati Kusuma — Indonesia’s growing energy needs make the building of nuclear power plants unavoidable in the long term, a senior government official said on Monday.
„In the future, whether we like it or not, nuclear power has to be added [to the energy mix] because it’s cheap and reliable,“ said Dahlan Iskan, the minister for state enterprises. He was speaking at an energy policy seminar at the House of Representatives.
Referring to the Fukushima nuclear disaster following the massive March tsunami in Japan, Dahlan said it was important to note that technology continued to evolve.
„The Fukushima technology was 10 years old. When I was general director at [state utility] PLN, I was once offered nuclear technology that wouldn’t even be affected if it were hit by an airplane,“ the former Perusahaan Listrik Negara chief said.
Tatang H. Soerwidjaja, an expert from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), agreed with the minister. He said nuclear power was necessary because the country’s demand for electricity would continue to increase.
According to Tatang, in 14 years, power consumption is set to quadruple. „Such an extraordinary increase in a relatively small amount of time would be impossible to tackle without taking recourse to building nuclear power plants,“ the expert said.
Currently, Indonesia uses around 30,000 megawatts of electricity, but only 71 percent of households are connected to the power grid. That means almost a third of Indonesia’s 240 million people do not have access to electricity. However, the population is expected to grow significantly and so is the demand for electricity.
The National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) has announced it will conduct seismic testing next year on Bangka island, the proposed site of a 10,000- megawatt nuclear reactor.
The agency is working together with state-run contractor Surveyor Indonesia, which will plant 300 TNT explosives weighing one kilogram each 20 meters below the ground. Using a geophone, which reads seismic waves in the ground, geologists will be able to determine whether the site is suited to contain a nuclear power plant.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) will analyze the test’s results and the data produced will be forwarded to the central government for further deliberation and should dictate the final design of the plant.
Bangka was chosen for its relative proximity to Java and Sumatra, Indonesia’s most populous islands. Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and the reactor is set to be operational in 2030 after a five-year testing period.
The power plant is expected to supply 40 percent of electricity needs in the islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali. The government plans to build four nuclear reactors by 2025. <>

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