REGULATION | Staff Reporter, Indonesia

Proposal to revisit nuclear energy generation receives backlash in Indonesia

The country’s position on the Ring of Fire has raised concerns over the safety of nuclear energy.

A plan to revive an idea to build a nuclear power plant in Indonesia to meet its fast growing electricity needs has received strong opposition, The Jakarta Post reports.

The proposal came from Kurtubi, a member of the House of Representatives Commission VII for energy affairs, amongst others, who demanded the government include nuclear generation in the 2019 to 2038 National Electricity General Plan (RUKN).

He stressed that Indonesia needs to develop nuclear energy to meet the increasing demand for electricity because it made less of an impact on the environment compared to other energy sources.

“However, there is still hesitation to develop a nuclear power plant because of its high cost,” Kurtubi was cited.

In response, energy and mineral resources minister Ignasius Jonan said the government would be very cautious when considering the idea, whilst there were still many other energy resources in the country that had lower development costs than a nuclear power plant.

Meanwhile, state-owned electricity company PLN’s acting president director, Djoko Abumanan, said that nuclear energy had frequently been a topic of discussion, but the lack of legal basis had prevented the company from executing any nuclear power plant project.

On the other hand, Greenpeace Asia Tenggara’s climate change and energy head, Tata Mustafa, expressed his rejection of the idea, stressing that the country needed to focus on the development of other renewable energy resources, the report said.

“The potential of solar energy is 207GW, whilst the potential of wind farm energy reached 66GW,” he said, adding that he doubted the safety of nuclear energy, particularly because of the country’s position on the Ring of Fire that was frequently hit by earthquakes.

The Institute for Essential Services Reform’s executive director Fabby Tumiwa also opposed the plan. He said he was particularly concerned about the management of radioactive waste. “The life span of a nuclear power plant is only 50 years, but radioactive waste will exist for thousands of years,” he said. 

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