Jakarta. The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, supports Indonesia’s plan to develop an experimental power reactor, or RED, as part of implementing nuclear technology in the country.
“The IAEA will be a watchdog that will monitor the utilization of nuclear energy in the context of improving life quality and welfare [in Indonesia],” IAEA’s deputy director general Alexander Bychkov said in a meeting with Research and Technology Minister Muhammad Hatta in Jakarta on Thursday. They were accompanied by Djarot Sulistio Wisnubroto, head of the National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan).
Bychkov said the IAEA would exchange information, experience, knowledge and offer advice on nuclear technology when RED was built. Djarot said the RED aims to show people that nuclear power plants (PLTN) can be used to produce electricity that even small islands can benefit.
“The idea to construct RED came up last year. Right now, we are going to try to get the new government to approve this program. A political decision from Indonesia’s president-elect is needed,” Djarot said.
Both Bapeten and IAEA will cooperate in supervising safety and nuclear security to ensure that the nuclear site will not be misused, Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapeten) deputy chairman Khoirul Huda said.
“Bapeten and the IAEA will make sure that the nuclear site will not cause harm to the people and the environment. Besides, we want to create an image that nuclear [power] is safe,” he said.
The program itself has been included in the National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) by the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas). RED can produce up to 10 megawatts of electricity.
According to the plan, RED will be built in Serpong, South Tangerang, and its construction can be completed in three to four years at a budget of up to Rp 1.6 trillion ($137 million). If approved, Djarot predicted that the nuclear site will be completed in 2019.
Still, anti-nuclear activists have said that Indonesia would risk enduring environmental risks of radioactive contamination.