See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Should Indonesia Abandon its Nuclear Plans?

Indonesia’s plan to build its first nuclear plant in the next decade has been shelved indefinitely because of the nuclear disaster in Japan. Indonesia has large uranium deposits but like Japan, it’s located inside the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ where the threat of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions is high. Bloggers are joining the debate on whether Indonesia should pursue its nuclear dreams.

Erwin Wirawan is neutral on the issue

I am on neutral ground. Many accounts of the downside of nuclear power plant are exacerbated and in fact, the renewable energy sources are still pipe dreams for mass production.

First, nuclear power plant is not the most dangerous compared to other more common energy source such as coal. The nuclear power plant disasters are rare. The worst nuclear disaster was in Chernobyl claimed “only” 28 lives. Do you know that in China, 2,442 workers were killed in 1,401 coal mining incidents in 2010, while in the United States, 18 coal miners died in 2009?

Finally, Indonesia does need variety of energy to speed up the economic development while reducing the energy cost. And each energy source has its own advantages and disadvantages. Nuclear energy is neither the best nor the worst. Accordingly, the government must put this option on the table along with others

Colson hopes that Indonesian authorities would seriously consider the situation in Fukushima, Japan before building a nuclear plant

And just like the Japanese plants, nuclear power plants in Indonesia are by definition on or near the “Ring of Fire”- that is they will always be in a hazardous situation. If, or rather when, the unthinkable will happen it might cause an unprecedented catastrophe.

So let’s hope the real crucial people in charge will wisely reconsider their plans, taking into account what is happening in Fukushima.

Calvin supports the idea of using nuclear energy but insists that the plant must be located in a safe area

i have mixed position regarding nuclear power. I do support nuclear to be used as energy source but i think it must be placed outside ring of fire.

Tikno suggests other sources of energy like coal or geothermal

Indonesia having many natural resources that can be converted into electricity, such as: water, coal, geothermal. It’s time for human kind researching in technology (other than nuclear) to generate electricity.

Multibrand emphasizes the need to include nuclear energy as an option to meet the future energy requirement of Indonesia

Considering that Indonesia will need lots of electric power for development of the country, and the source of electricity, i.e. coal, gas, petroleum, geothermal, is limited, I think we should keep an open mind on the possibility of building a nuclear power reactors that can provide much bigger electricity.

But in this case we must make sure that reactor would be located in a place that would not be affected by earthquake and/or other natural disasters, operated and maintained by people who are highly skilled and disciplined

Luke believes that despite the crisis in Japan, nuclear energy should not be dismissed

I think Nuclear power is the safest form of power generation which like flying is the safest form of travel, but when it goes really wrong it will go really wrong. I also think that we can't dismiss nuclear power because of what has happened happened in Japan. We learnt from Chernobyl and I believe it is still the way to go.

Twitter user @Ihwoon identifies ‘safe’ areas in Indonesia which are outside the ‘ring of fire.’

Nuclear energy is the most cheap energy. It is the key to make better Indonesia, to boost country development program by providing cheap and clean energy. Facing the world situation now when coal and oil prices are rising and our oil and coal deposits are decreasing, the nuclear energy is an alternative solution. We can save 30 million tons of coal per year and 70 million barrels of oil per year. We could make our country become a clean country by reducing 20 percent pollution emission. I understand we are located in “ring of fire” but we also have areas that are not located in that area: “Bangka and Kalimantan are the safe zones if we want to build it. There is no recorded landslide and earthquake in those areas in the last 100 years.

Thumbnail used is from the Flickr page of Paul J Everett used under CC License Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0

3 comments

  • Shelley

    I know everyone has their opinions and of course thoughts on why this or that should or shouldn’t take place.

    There are other options to nuclear power. For one, no one can predict or say “yes, build a nuclear power plant here or there, because an earthquake can’t happen there and damage it”. Ummmm, God is in control and says what will or what won’t take place.

    I am against nuclear power! I’m glad the Germans have decided to go with an alternate source, good for them! When a nuclear power plant goes wrong, for any reason, (man or natural disasters), it effects us all in one way or the other. I know what the Holy Bible says, and I know we are not in control. Not one of us knows with any certainty when the rapture will happen and when this abused world will end, but God. And for now, while it’s still here, we should start taking a lot better care of what we do have, quit whining about what we don’t have. Nuclear power is NOT safe.

    Japan was a lesson for us all and a horrific tragedy has happened which we should all learn from!

    We also need to decide now, before it’s too late, where we are going when we leave this world. You may not be given another chance to choose Christ. Life is precious.

    Rev. Shelley

  • The fundamental aspect the Indonesian government should take account for the first step towards establishing a nuclear power plant is the quality of human resources. The quality deals with competency, commitment, accountability and intention. Corruption, patronage, and budgetary fraud are still on the hallmarks. Character and capacity buildings are supposed to have priority before making any decision on the nuclear power plant development. It is something the Indonesian government must do. Nothing more.

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site