The National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) is working to solidify a partnership with Russia’s state-owned Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) in order to develop a nuclear power plant (PLTN) in the country.
BATAN chairman Djarot Sulistio Wisnubroto told The Jakarta Post on Monday that both agencies were set to establish a joint group to explore options for developing Indonesia’s first PLTN.
An agreement to form the joint group was reached between BATAN—which was representing the Indonesian government—and Rosatom at Atomexpo, an international forum on nuclear energy hosted by the Russian government in Moscow last June.
“Our attendance at Atomexpo aimed to obtain information directly from Rosatom regarding details on our plan to develop a PLTN; a small one that could produce approximately 30 megawatts of power,” Djarot said.
“The joint group will act as a follow-up to the collaboration [effort]. We will invite their team to come here for further discussions,” he added.
In June, the Russian government hosted Atomexpo, a three-day international nuclear energy forum in Moscow that sought to explore “a new product of the energy market”.
The forum — which was the sixth of its kind and was arranged by Rosatom — brought together some 800 delegates from 275 organizations throughout the world, including from Indonesia.
“Nuclear energy is uniting our world because it is a long-term process that doesn’t depend on the current political situation,” Kirill Komarov, deputy director general for Rosatom development and international business said during the opening ceremony of Atomexpo.
Komarov added that the forum, a major exhibition involving meetings and negotiations among worldwide nuclear power industry players, would also discuss the relative competitiveness of nuclear energy in the global energy market.
According to Djarot, Rosatom offered to provide the technology to help Indonesia develop its first PLTN during the forum, an offer that Indonesia was carefully examining in order to compare it to similar offers being made by Russia to countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam and Turkey.
“We are requiring two conditions from Russia and other countries that are interested in working together with Indonesia on this issue: transfer of technology and engagement of national corporations in the development of the power plant,” Djarot said, emphasizing that a transfer of technology would enable Indonesia to become technologically independent in the future.
“I can’t say much [more] about the two conditions for the time being because we are still discussing them [with Russia]. But we have told them about this since the very beginning,” Djarot added.
There are many advantages and disadvantages related to building nuclear power plants in Indonesia, but despite being geographically prone to natural disasters, Indonesia is pushing ahead with the plan.
Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in 2011 sparked deep concern about the safety of nuclear power worldwide, including in Indonesia. The tragedy also reinforced anti-nuclear activism in the country, particularly in areas earmarked for PLTN construction in Central Java. (Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post)