Plan for nuclear power plant construction in Indonesia

The Indonesian government, in its Long-term Development Plan from 2004 to 2025, has announced a plan to build four nuclear power plants by 2025 as one of the breakthroughs of “Energy Crisis*“. We, who are living in Japan, should not forget the fact that Japan, both public and private sectors, have been taking very aggressive attitude on opening the way for exports of nuclear power plant technology to Indonesia.

In 1990s, one Japanese company named NEWJEC (affiliate company of Kansai Electric Power Co./KEPCO) got a loan from the Export-Import Bank of Japan/EIB (Japan Bank For International Cooperation/JBIC) in order to conduct a Feasibility Study for construction of nuclear power plant in Indonesia. In response to that FS, Peninsula Muria, Central Jawa, was floated as a candidate site. Shortly after that, the plan faded away due to the Asian Currency Crisis in 1997, but the plan emerged again at the start of the twenty-first century. In 2006, Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry decided to entrust implementation of a project named “Introduction of Nuclear Power Plant to Asia”. And Even after the change of governing party in 2009, the Democratic Party of Japa as the ruling party, has been enthusiastic about exporting nuclear power plant technology on ground that it would be powerful measures against global warming.

Under the circumstances, the worst accident in northeastern Japan at Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear power plant occured. Three reactors have been critically damaged and one caught fire, and the situation doesn’t seem to getting better. From the very begining, the management of Tokyo Electric Power Co./TEPCO has been explaining that this accident was caused by “UNEXPECTED TSUNAMI” as generally reported. This accident is sure to affect the plans for exporting nuclear power plant technology to Indonesia, where is also located in earthquake-prone zone as well as Japan! In addition, large capital investment in nuclear power plant construction would place a larger burden for people in Indonesia that has been hugely in foreign debt (Japan is the largest creditor). Moreover, environmental destruction and forced expropriation of land would happen same as other large projects. 

Publicizing these risks and problems, since the summer of 2007, local residents in Muria Peninsula working with local/Internatonal NGOs raised an intense campaign against nuclear power plant. Nevertheless, the government haven’t withdraw the plan yet. Instead, Madura**, Bangka Belitung and Kalimantan has been mentioned as other candidate sites.

* Indonesia is rich in energy and mineral resources such as oil, coal and natural gas, and has been fuel exporter. However, due to the surge in domestic demand for those resources for economic growth, the government has started to mention ongoing “Enegy Crisis” in Indonesia.

** Madura island, East Jawa, is on the opossite shore of Gresik and Sidoarjo where Eco-shrimp comes from.

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