Sunday, April 01, 2007
  Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

A major political controversy here is focussed on Indonesia's support for the UN Resolution 1747 (2007) adopted a week ago. In essence, it reaffirms a commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the need for all States Party to that Treaty to comply fully with all their obligations, and recalling the right of States Party to that treaty .... to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.

The problem appears to be based on the historically belligerent attitudes of Iran towards the 'Great Satan' of America and its allies who are in turn belligerent towards the Islamic states of the Middle East. The west, remember, were the 'controllers' of the Shah of Persia, a country with oil reserves. The Islamic revolution of 1979 overthrew the puppets and, much like Indonesia, has sought a way out of its colonial past in order to assert its independence and identity.

Iran has consistently stated that its nuclear programme is for purely for the peaceful use; unfortunately as part of the fuel cycle uranium has to be enriched and this could lead to nuclear weapons grade material, a horrific scenario. The government gives verbal assurances and point sout that it has a 'right' to develop nuclear power. However, all countries which are party to nuclear non-proliferation treaties have to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) and to apply standards on safety and others set and controlled by the IAEA.

As Indonesia's foreign minister, Hassan Wirajuda, pointed out last week, the IAEA directorate general in Vienna reported it had not been able to draw a conclusion regarding the peaceful purpose of the Iranian nuclear program and Iran still continued enriching uranium after the issuance of Resolution 1737.

Indonesia's support for the UN resolution has upset over a hundred legislators, mainly on the grounds that Iran is an Islamic nation and, they argue, so is Indonesia. This is, of course, crap. Indonesia may well have the world's largest population of Muslims but however many ignorant and puerile politicians may wish it, it is not an Islamic state.

With all these side issues and jostling for the higher moral ground, the key question has yet to be asked: do we actually need nuclear power to provide electricity? Does Iran? Does anybody?

"Don’t worry, even if there was an accident, the government would pay compensation.

I'm indebted to Oigal for this highlighting this inane statement from a spokesman for the nuclear power industry in Indonesia.

The government would pay compensation? Or would they tell the (foreign) operators of the nuclear power station to do so, much as they have told Lapindo Brantas to compensate the 12,000+ victims of the Sidoarjo mudflow? These refugees remain dependent on charity, unable to start lives anew and are thoroughly pissed off at the extreme indifference, or is it callousness, shown by the Bakrie Boys who have signally failed to follow SBY's diktat.

Can you trust politicians and officials who speak absolute crap like this?

"These days we have new era science world even also progressively."

(To add insult to the injury to the English language on this site, the web-site official education JAKARTA CITY, uses the British flag, the Union Jack, as its icon. I am indebted to my friend Gene Netto who writes in some depth about this site on his blog.)

So, in this "new era science world" that some claim Indonesia is, it is not surprising that there should be a conference to chart out the road map related to a nuclear power plant development in Indonesia, explore opportunities and challenges in nuclear technology.

And it runs for a couple of days starting tomorrow at the Sultan (né Hilton). It's title is IndoNuclear2007: Nuclear Energy for Peace & Prosperity and according to the programme there are many issues that need to be explored.

This is a worrying statement. As much as the building of a nuclear power plant - slated to be in operations by year 2016 - is at the prerogative of SBY, the organisers of this conference indicate in the proposed agenda that they don't know where to build it, have yet to agree on the technology or its role and anticipate problems.

Well, that's my perception given that the organising committee is from the Badan Tenaga Nuklir Nasional (BADAN), the National Nuclear Energy Agency, and the advisory board is largely internal with representatives from BADAN, plus the Ministers of Energy & Mineral Resources and of Research & Technology with their deputies.

Could it be that just because there are vested interests in the building of a nuclear power plant - several countries ~ US, Russia, China, Korea, Japan and France have shown interest in building nuclear power plant in Indonesia ~ it should be built?

Rather than reciting a long list of nuclear accidents, and cover ups or even presenting a balanced case, both for and against - we can argue forever about whether there are effects that we don't know about and there undoubtedly are - the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity, I would like to pose a challenge.

I propose that all multi-national companies and foreign governments wanting a slice of Indonesia's nuclear pie should first show their commitment to this country by building a network of public toilets throughout Jakarta, preferably low-tech, and demonstrate that they can deal with the waste generated.

If they can do that here and now - perhaps by using the methane gas produced to generate electricity - then maybe there is hope that they have sufficient intelligence to deal with the waste from Indonesia's nuclear power plant and to not abdicate their responsibilities to ten thousand year's worth of future generations.

Otherwise, they're talking crap.


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