Nuclear families, yes! Nuclear energy, no!
Deddy H. Harsono, the Public Relations Division Head of the National Nuclear Energy Agency
, liked the article by Warief Djajanto Basorie which, you will recall
if you scroll down a couple of days, I thought shallow and detestable. In fact, Deddy liked the article so much that he wrote a letter to the Jakarta Post.While stressing the importance of safety and cost of nuclear power plants (NPP), the author described quite satisfactorily the reasons why Indonesia needs NPPs in its energy mix to meet the ever increasing electricity consumption.
However, there is a minor correction we wish to make. It was written in the article that, according to the chief of the National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan), Soedyartomo, the oil-based fuel subsidy made by the government is enough to purchase eight NPP's from Taiwan. The correct statement by the Batan chief was "the oil-based fuel subsidy of the government is sufficient to purchase the same number of NPP's that Taiwan has"
Which is ... ?
My googling suggests six, or possibly four, i.e. less than Warief suggested.
What I also found out was that there is a very active anti-nuclear lobby in Taiwan
.In Taiwan, obviously there are no adequate places for final deposal of nuclear waste. Even for the low level nuclear waste, it may take 300 years to decay to the nature background level. The high level waste, the spent fuel, may need a hundred thousand years to decay to the nature background level. The current policy of Taipower for storing low level waste is to store them in the nuclear power plant sites.
Which leads me back to the UK where Tony Blair, rapidly losing his allure with the British electorate, believes more nuclear power stations will fill the energy gap.
Yet up at the Sellafield
nuclear reprocessing plant, formerly called Windscale, they don't actually know what waste they've got.The problems the UK faces in dealing with nuclear waste are not just about the real nasties in their pure forms - the plutonium, uranium and spent nuclear fuel which can stay radioactive for thousands of years.
In addition - because of our military history - the UK has a large number of different radioactive substances and it is difficult to be sure how these all react with each other and to other elements and conditions.
So while Finland - which is building another new reactor - has less than 30 different types of nuclear waste, the UK has 1,119, according to Nirex's latest radioactive waste inventory.
And some have been moved and they don't know where. In fact, Sellafield is now facing criminal charges
is the government-owned body in charge of setting standards on nuclear storage and decommissioning
. It has a poor record
of public disclosure.)
I'd be curious to know how Indonesia's Nuclear Energy Agency proposes to dispose of its waste. Sub-contract it to the Jakarta administration?
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
, Indonesia is a Country of Strategic Nuclear Concern, even though this document seems to indicate that Indonesia is already confident in its ability to operate nuclear power plants.Indonesia is currently thought to be undertaking an ambitious nuclear power plant construction programme to meet its growing energy needs. While the perceived goal of the program is to eventually build 12 nuclear power production facilities, current planning calls for construction to commence on the first plant by 2010, with operational capability to be achieved by 2016.
Indonesia has no nuclear reprocessing facility at this time. Nor does it appear to have experimented in reprocessing operations in the past. However, with its well established nuclear research programmes it is technically feasible that Indonesia could develop the ability to reprocess spent fuel.
"Well established nuclear research programmes"?
That phrase has got me worried so I think it's opportune to investigate further. For example, did know that Indonesia has uranium mines? Did you know that Indonesia is currently a board member of the International Atomic Energy Agency
Me neither, so here's a Jakartass Appeal.
Given that there is a strong lobby to squander several squillion rupiah on the provision of electricity through a process which is dangerous and potentially catastrophic - what if Indonesia were to become a pariah state like Iran or North Korea, a scenario considered by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (link above)
? - then it is vital that Indonesians are fully informed about potential consequences.
The public has the right to know.
Although Jakartass has been and always will be an anti-nuclear lobbyist ~ a minority viewpoint by the way ~ I would value input from all and sundry on this issue.Key Questions
- Who stands to benefit?
- Who doesn't?
- Is Indonesia a signatory to all the relevant treaties?
- What would be the total costs over, say, fifty years?
(These must include the initial R&D costs, power plant purchase/construction, operation costs, decommisioning costs, reprocessing of the waste, storage of the waste (inc. for the next millenium) less the sale of electricity generated during the expected twenty years of operation.)
I know there are more questions. Please help me find the answers.