Indonesia waits for president's decision to build nuclear power plant

17:15, May 17, 2010      

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Indonesia is waiting for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's decision to build nuclear power plants in order to increase power capacity in the country, an official said in Jakarta on Monday.

The Head of the National Atomic Agency (BATAN) Hudi Hastowo told a parliamentary hearing that Indonesia has received helps from developed countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Of course we have to refer to documents prepared by the IAEA if we want to build nuclear energy power plant," said Hudi.

He said that if the president approves the plan, Indonesia will have the plant by 2016.

Hudi said that neighboring countries like Malaysia and Singapore will build nuclear energy power plants in the near term.

"We have many skilled workers on nuclear. If we keep delaying the project, they will flee to other countries," said Hudi.

He said that Indonesia has huge uranium reserves to support the power plants.

"Overall, we have uranium resources of 59,000 tons uranium oxide (UO), consisting of hypothetic category to indicated category in West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan provinces," said Hudi.

According to Hudi, the biggest reserves are in Papua Island that had yet to be explored.

"Australia is rich of uranium. So we assume that Papua is also rich of uranium as million years ago the island was united with Australia Continent," said Hudi.

He also said that hypothetic thorium reserves of 121,500 tons are located in Bangka Belitung province.

However, he said that the project is hindered by public and non- governmental organizations' resistance.

"But we want to find other locations to build the reactor," said Hudi, referring to Banten and Bangka Belitung provinces to replace Muria Mount in Central Java province as the reactor location.

Soetan Batorgana, a member of parliament, urged the government to realize the plan immediately.

"Don't let our nuclear-skilled workers flee to other countries if we let them without work here," said Soetan.

He also urged the government to socialize the plan to public about the benefit of nuclear power plant.

"For the sake of our people, the government must take action immediately," said Soetan.

Source: Xinhua
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