Thursday, December 22, 2005

Indonesia going nuclear?

The following is taken from

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Indonesia going nuke?

Last week Yosef Ardi published one of the most important posts, something so significant that I cannot leave it uncommented upon.

Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) said on Dec. 13th that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Indonesian state-run electric company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) on the construction of the Southeast Asian country's first nuclear power plant.

They're going to spend a year on planning the whats and wheres.

"We hope to introduce our OPR-1000 class (light-water) reactor in Indonesia," KEPCO's spokesperson Park Yong-Seong said.

KEPCO has developed the OPR 1000 class reactor, which refers to an optimized power reactor with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

"About the location, the possibilities include Madura (East Java) or Muria (Central Java), but if these proposals are turned down it will be no problem to move to earthquake-free Kalimantan," he said.

No problem? Ignoring the horrendous cost, the technological safety and waste storage/recycling factors, one can only hope that by 2017, when the plant is hoped to be ready for operation, no existing or emergent terrorist group will be tempted by the target.

And will a country with such poor infrastructure that it cannot even provide adequate public transport or household waste disposal facilities be able to ensure the required trained personnel?

Perhaps the most important issue, however, is the question of 'socialisation'. The Jakarta Post has no record of this deal in its archives, although on November 21st it reported on a meeting that SBY had with four major Korean conglomerates thus:

Susilo ... visited a nuclear power plant in Kori, which is managed by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. Ltd., aiming at exploring the possibility of cooperating with Korea in developing a nuclear power plant at home to help reduce the country's dependency on plants fired by fossil-based sources.

Why the secrecy?One can only hope that commonsense will prevail, that alternative energy options, such as the abundant geothermal and solar sources, are thoroughly explored before setting out on a short-term energy project with immeasurably long-term consequences.


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