77.5% of Indonesians want nuclear power plants: Dr Taswanda Taryo

But despite this, nuclear plants will still depend on political decision, Dr Taryo says.

In this second installment of an interview series by NuclearForum.Asia and Nuclear Power Asia 2017, we spoke with Dr. Taswanda Taryo, Principal Researcher of PTKRN-BATAN, Serpong (Chief of Project Management Organization for Indonesia Experimental Power Reactor 10MW), as he discusses the way forward for the Indonesian nuclear energy sector.

What is the role of nuclear energy in Indonesia's energy mix?

Indonesia has made a nuclear energy outlook in 2014 and the Government of Indonesia has also established the Government Decree No. 79 Year 2014, and it is clearly stated that Indonesia needs electricity with the power of 115 GW in 2025, and existing electricity is around 52 GW.

The lack of electricity till 2025 should be supported by new energy and renewable energy (NRE) with the percentage of 23%. 23% of NRE can be from solar, geothermal, micro-hydro, biomass and nuclear. One of the advantages of nuclear is that they are green, very competitive and to be able to provide bigger power of electricity.

What in experience has been the 3 greatest challenges for new nuclear build from the policy and infrastructure development perspective?

There are three challenges in Indonesia:

The nuclear power plant (NPP) construction takes some years to begin with, namely 7-9 years from the beginning. I think, politicians are not very impressive since they have only 5 years to lead the country. It is therefore, it is better form them not to take the decision once they lead the country at that time.

Indonesia is now developing infrastructures such roads, ports, tolls, railways to make people have access to anywhere and hence improving their quality of lives. It is therefore, financing is needed once Indonesia is impressive to build NPPs.

Lasty, public acceptance is very important in Indonesia, it is then we would like to share this matter with other countries opinions.

What are the unique challenges for emerging countries while developing their nuclear power programmes?

Most people agree if we talk nuclear used for non-power (agriculture, health, industry etc.), but they oppose to promotion of nuclear for power (NPPs). Fortunately, survey done in 2017 shows that 77,5% of Indonesians (4000 people) agree that NPPs should be available in the country.

The construction of NPPs depends on political decision. They are not interested in constructing NPPs since the construction time is more than 5 years. It is noted that they only lead the country for 5 years.

What is an acceptable and cost-effective methodology to assess public opinion on nuclear power in ASEAN?

In 2016, Indonesia uses had 4,000 people to be directly interviewed and we have done this method since 2009. We had survey down once Fukushima accident taken place, only around 49%. In 2015 and 2016, the results of the survey are 75,3 and 77,5 respectively. This way is quite effective and efficient. The other way is to use social media such as, Facebook, twitter etc.

What are the main considerations in selecting nuclear technologies?

The main considerations of technology selection of NPP are followings: Site specification, Grid integration, Nuclear installation safety, Characteristics and technical performance, Fuel performance and cycle, Radiation protection, Environment influence, Security of installation and site, Scope of owner responsibility, Issue of technology owner and supplier, Capability to construct NPP on time, Transfer technology, Project efficiency and effectiveness.

Why is a grid important to the NPP?

Indonesia has a lot of islands, more than 3,000 islands. These islands are mostly separated by seawater occupied around 75%. It is therefore the grid electricity is very important to be taken into account, since this will influence on the electricity tariff once electric generating plant built. It is hard to be accepted if the electricity price is high or more than 10 cent/Kwh

Article photo originally from CNN Indonesia

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