wild places | wild happenings | wild news
make a difference for our wild places

home | links | search the site
  all articles latest | past | articles by topics | search wildnews
wild news on wildsingapore
  Channel NewsAsia 20 Jul 07
Indonesia may put on hold plans to build first nuclear power plant

Straits Times 9 Jul 07
Yudhoyono pushes for nuclear energy quest
Scientists told to develop technology despite opposition to project in Java
By Salim Osman

JAKARTA - INDONESIAN President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on his country's scientists to move ahead in developing nuclear technology to meet future energy needs.

He urged them on even as opposition mounted against the government's nuclear plant project in Central Java.

'We have to move ahead in our technological innovation to help solve various problems, from energy demands to food and water supply,' Dr Yudhoyono told scientists late last week at the National Atomic Energy Centre (Batan) in Serpong in Banten province.

His visit was in itself seen as a shot in the arm for the country's nuclear energy scientists, even as environmental groups pressured the government to stop building a nuclear plant in the earthquake- prone area of Mount Muria in Central Java, which is 440km away from here.

Last year, Dr Yudhoyono announced the plan to build the controversial nuclear plant, and construction is to start in 2010 and be completed by 2016. The project is expected to cost US$1.6 billion (S$2.4 billion). If all goes according to plan, it will be Indonesia's first nuclear power plant, producing 1,000MW of much-needed electricity for Java, Madura and Bali.

Indeed, Batan's head Hudi Hastowo seized on his country's power woes to explain the need for the plant. 'The electricity crisis we are now facing will not be eased by 2025 unless we start developing a nuclear power plant now,' he said.

He also pointed out that Indonesia had safely operated a nuclear research reactor each in Yogyakarta, Bandung and Serpong for several years without incident.

Batan and an environmental group that supports nuclear energy, Masyarakat Peduli Energi dan Lingkungan, are now campaigning for public support by holding seminars and distributing pro-nuclear energy leaflets.

Last Wednesday, at a seminar in Batan's Jakarta office, nuclear expert Sofyan Yatim said the radioactive waste produced at the Mount Muria plant would be managed properly, following strict guidelines stipulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But environmentalists at another seminar on the same day in Jakarta disagreed.

Among them was Mr Rinaldy Dalimi from the University of Indonesia, who noted that the country had yet to develop technology that would prevent radioactive contamination satisfactorily.

'Our level of discipline is relatively low,' he pointed out.

Last month, at another talk on the proposed nuclear plant, an environmentalist said people living around Mount Muria rejected the plan because they saw the mountain as a clean and green counterweight to the three surrounding industrial towns of Jepara, Kudus and Pati.

Mr Lilo Sunaryo of the Earth Guardian Society also urged the government to relocate the proposed plant.

'There are 29 hills surrounding Mount Muria. It is possible there could be a crack in the Earth's crust between the hills, which could create earthquakes in the future, considering we are in the (Pacific) Ring of Fire zone,' he said.

But Batan's officials brushed off his concerns, saying the government had conducted several studies before plumping for the site at Mount Muria.

Channel NewsAsia 20 Jul 07
Indonesia may put on hold plans to build first nuclear power plant

JAKARTA : There are signs that Indonesia may put on hold plans to build its first nuclear power plant until it is certain that it will be safe.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla says, for now, Indonesia will rely on its vast reserves of renewable energy sources, such as geothermal and hydro-power to meet the country's energy needs.

Last year Indonesia announced plans to operate its first nuclear power plant by 2016 under country's National Energy Policy. The site is near Muria Mountain in populated Central Java.

However safety concerns were raised as Indonesia sits in the Pacific Ring of Fire and is prone to earthquake and volcanic activities.

Now Jakarta appears to be re-assessing its nuclear intentions.

VP Jusuf Kalla says: "There are discussions among scientists, according to the old plan under Pak Habibie. Until now, under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, we never talked about the real plan or even the dates of the year for nuclear plant in Indonesia."

The reasons for the change of heart follow the recent enactment of Indonesia's new energy law.

The new legislation sets out the broad policies for the development of the energy sector. Mr Kalla says that Indonesia still has vast reserves of untapped renewable energy sources such as geo-thermal heat and hydro-power to meet the country's needs: "We hope this will be enough for us for now until the time when we can have safer nuclear power - not like in Japan now. We are more realistic about that."

In spite of quake-proof design and construction techniques, the world's largest nuclear power plant in Japan had leaked radioactive material after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked country.

Indonesia is painfully aware of its growing demand for energy to sustain its economic growth.

To fuel this need, a New National Energy Board chaired by the President is expected to be formed in the next six months. It will serve as the highest-level policy maker in all energy sector development programmes in Indonesia. - CNA/ch

links Related articles on Green energy
about the site | email ria
  News articles are reproduced for non-profit educational purposes.

website©ria tan 2003 www.wildsingapore.com