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Shoddy, shoddy, shoddy: How they built the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant


Shoddy, shoddy, shoddy: How they built the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, rappler.com, KELVIN S. RODOLFO 21 July 21, There is not enough space to list the multitude of construction errors inspector William Albert found at the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

The following is the tenth in a series of excerpts from Kelvin Rodolfo’s ongoing book project Tilting at the Monster of Morong: Forays Against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and Global Nuclear Energy.Some history   A thoughtful congressman, Roilo Golez, once cautioned that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant’s (BNPP) risks were magnified by a “national lack of a culture of safety that is observed in Japan, the United States, and Western Europe.” The BNPP has been accursed with that lack from the very beginning, and remains so today…………. https://www.rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/opinion-shoddy-how-

July 22, 2021 Posted by | Indonesia, safety | Leave a comment

Euphoria about nuclear costs, especially about decommissioning – Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns Indonesia.

IEEFA: Nuclear power euphoria in Indonesia is all smoke and mirrors with no current technical, financial or market viability,

2 June 21,    https://ieefa.org/ieefa-nuclear-power-euphoria-in-indonesia-is-all-smoke-and-mirrors-with-no-current-technical-financial-or-market-viability/

Renewables should be the focus of Indonesia’s net-zero pledge.   (IEEFA Indonesia) In growing energy markets like Indonesia, decision makers are facing a barrage of pro-nuclear media coverage as the nuclear industry floods the market with panels and webinars focused on the potential of nuclear power.

new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) highlights that while nuclear is promising as a baseload substitute for coal power, it currently has no technical, financial, or market viability in the Indonesian context. Author of IEEFA’s report Elrika Hamdi says that Indonesian nuclear power supporters often promise that nuclear will be an affordable, safe and sustainable solution for the problem of over-reliance on fossil fuel.

Yet, 70 years after the first nuclear power developments were announced, the technology is quickly losing market share as global power markets pivot toward more cost-competitive renewables and storage solutions.

“Despite the steady erosion of nuclear power’s competitive potential, key Southeast Asian energy ministries continue to be lobbied by nuclear advocates. Many of these lobbyists are international backers of new small modular reactor (SMR) technologies, who are actively engaging with governments and utilities around the region,” says Hamdi.

As old generation large-scale nuclear units face decommissioning, there is little consensus about how long it will take for newer small-scale nuclear technologies to be economically viable or how long-standing safety and waste disposal risks will be addressed.


“Determining the suitability of nuclear for the Indonesian power market will be a challenging task that will require honest and deep engagement by senior policymakers to ensure there is a high degree of accountability as Indonesians need to know the real cost of having nuclear in the power system as well as how the government will handle the problem of nuclear waste.”

Hamdi says that the short-list of nuclear power issues includes technology reliability, safety and safeguards, the geographic conditions of Southeast Asia, the prospects for decommissioning, waste treatment and permanent disposal, fuel availability, affordability, and the risk of persistent cost overruns and frequently overlooked shut-down costs.

Research has shown that an estimated 97% (175 out of 180 projects examined) of nuclear power projects exceed their initial budgets. The average cost overrun for a nuclear power plant was US$1.3 billion per project with construction delays adding 64% more time than initially projected.

Nuclear waste disposal costs also complicate the cost estimation process—typically raising project costs as political risk factors crystallize. The inability of leading nuclear nations to find safe and affordable solutions for permanent high-level nuclear waste disposal leaves expensive back-end cost issues on the table.

The economics of nuclear power in Indonesia is also blurred by the fact that under existing regulations, nuclear accident liabilities for nuclear owners/operators are capped at a maximum of IDR 4 trillion (US$276 million) for power plants with a capacity of more than 2000MWe. It is cut in half as the capacity decreases. This means smaller nuclear reactors would be liable for only a fraction of potential accident costs.

“These open-ended cost issues make it hard to evaluate claims about the market viability of nuclear power in Indonesia’s cost-sensitive market. This is particularly true when most established nuclear nations are pivoting away from commitments to new nuclear power facilities as more flexible renewable plus storage options reshape power sector economics,” says Hamdi.

“If a decision is reached to move ahead with pilot stage nuclear projects, policymakers and the government will need to do a lot of policy work including the technical evaluation, the regulatory preparation and the financial support, including preparation of the currently non-existent third-party liability insurance framework.

“This will place a serious burden on a government already taxed by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to revitalize the financially constrained PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), Indonesia’s national power company.”

PLN also recently pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060. However, the plan released shows nuclear only entering the energy mix in 2040. This demonstrates that PLN is realistic about the technical, financial, and market challenges that need to be overcome if nuclear power is to successfully integrate into Indonesia’s future energy mix.

Hamdi says that until these issues have been acknowledged and fully addressed, the safe path for Indonesia, for now, would be to pause and set realistic goals for its power development strategy.

This includes taking advantage of Indonesia’s abundance of renewable energy resources and market viability.

“Currently only 2.5% of Indonesia’s 400GW renewable energy potential has been utilized.  That means that new technology options such as nuclear must compete with the deflationary cost curve in evidence with increasingly low-cost and low-risk renewable power solutions.

“New innovations to support grid flexibility such as demand response and storage are providing a cost-effective alternative to baseload-heavy planning disciplines. This trend raises questions about how small-scale nuclear reactors will fit into a more diverse power market where more cost-competitive renewable options could under-cut untested technologies that are years away from realizing economies of scale.

“The smaller, easily dispatchable, and walk-away safe promise of the new Gen-IV SMR technology offer is promising, IF and when the technology reaches commercial stage. But until such technology is proven to be technically and financially feasible, Indonesia’s safest option is to pause and set a more realistic net-zero scenario with resources and technologies that are already readily available with less cost, less risk, and less future liabilities.”

Read the report: Tackling Indonesia’s Nuclear Power Euphoria

June 8, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, Indonesia | Leave a comment

Indonesia’s nuclear ambitions could prove disastrous for the Southeast Asian region

More dangerously, Indonesia’s nuclear stakeholders have traditionally run into trouble selling the idea of nuclear energy to their constituents given widespread fear over Indonesia being prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity given its unique position within the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’.

January 7, 2021 Posted by | Indonesia, politics | Leave a comment

In Indonesia – small nuclear reactors as a prelude to nuclear weapons?

Indonesia’s Nuclear Dream, Revived?  Does the Joko Widodo government have nuclear aspirations? The Diplomat, By Sung-Mi Kim, December 31, 2020   Is Indonesia looking to go nuclear under the Joko Widodo government? In February 2020, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister of maritime affairs and former chief of staff to President Widodo, publicly complained that powerful countries like the United States do not consider Indonesia a serious international player because of its lack of nuclear weapons, seizing some local news headlines. The political heavyweight, a retired four-star army general, is behind a recent bout of interest in cutting-edge nuclear reactor technologies to capitalize on the country’s abundant mineral resources. …..
………the Defense Ministry signed an agreement with U.S.-based nuclear company ThorCon International in July 2020 to collaborate on the research and development of a small thorium molten salt reactor. Initially, ThorCon had made an ambitious proposal in March 2019 to invest $1.2 billion to develop a larger, 500 megawatt floating nuclear power plant in Indonesia by 2027. To this end, ThorCon has been engaging with key state-owned enterprises such as shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia, electricity provider PT PLN, and tin miner PT Timah through a series of MOUs and high-level engagements.  ……… https://thediplomat.com/2020/12/indonesias-nuclear-dream-revived/

January 2, 2021 Posted by | Indonesia, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Call to Indonesia to ratify UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

“Indonesia running in circles in bid to ratify anti-nuclear weapons treaty”.  Dian Septiari The Jakarta Post Jakarta   /   Fri, October 2, 2020

Indonesia is still dragging its feet in the ratification of an international treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons that it signed more than three years ago, even as its neighbors have one by one made good on their commitments. Malaysia was the latest to submit its instrument of ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on Wednesday, making it the 46th country to pass the treaty into law. Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the country’s ratification brought the international community one step closer to amassing the 50 national endorsements needed to bring the treaty into force, Bernama reports.

Adopted on July 7, 2017, the treaty prohibits all activities related to nuclear weapons, including their development, testing, manufacturing, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use and stationing. In Southeast Asia, Thailand was the first nation to sign and ratify the treaty, only a few months after it was adopted. Vietnam ratified it the following year, followed by Laos in 2019. Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said Indonesia was one of the first 50 countries to sign the treaty in 2017, but the ratification itself was still ongoing. “Of course, ratification cannot be done instantly, because it involves many stakeholders and progress is currently a bit constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is expected to participate virtually at the High-Level Meeting on Friday to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, which fell on Sept. 26. Muhadi Sugiono, a campaigner for the Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), expressed regret that the ratification of the nuclear prohibition treaty had not been made a priority issue in Indonesia’s foreign policy.

………. As the de facto leader of ASEAN, Indonesia is expected to shore up resources against global nuclear proliferation, which the bloc collectively agrees to oppose through the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) treaty. As a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and a coordinator of its working group on disarmament and nonproliferation since 1994, Indonesia was among cosponsors of the 2017 United Nations General Assembly resolution to enforce the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. Various observers have since called on Indonesia to make good on its

advocacy.

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/10/01/indonesia-running-in-circles-in-bid-to-ratify-anti-nuclear-weapons-treaty.html.

October 3, 2020 Posted by | Indonesia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Indonesia: strong objections to nuclear and “new” fossil fuel technologies being called ”green” energy

Tug of war: Stakeholders clash over nuclear, fossil fuel addition to green energy bill  Norman Harsono, The Jakarta Post Jakarta   /   Fri, September 25, 2020  Green energy businesses and watchdogs are up in arms over the House of Representatives’ decision to add nuclear and “new” fossil fuel technologies into a landmark green energy bill. Industry players have issued statements and held public hearings with lawmakers over the past two weeks to protest such an addition in the long-awaited New and Renewables Energy (EBT) bill, which promises legal certainty and incentives for listed industries. Nuclear energy, liquefied coal and coal gas – the latter product being pioneered by state-owned coal miner PT Bukit Asam – are all categorized as “new” but not “renewable” in the draft bill, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post.

Focus this bill on renewables,” said Halim Kalla, deputy chairman for renewables with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), at a hearing in Jakarta on Monday with the House Commission VII overseeing energy.
Add the new energy to their respective laws [not in the bill],” Surya Darma, chairman of the Indonesian Renewable Energy Society (METI), said to lawmakers on Sept 17. “The type of energy that really does not have its own law is renewables.” METI, an umbrella organization for all local renewable energy associations, referred to the 2001 Oil and Gas law, 1997 Nuclear Energy Law and 2020 Mining Law, which covers coal.
Kadin, METI and a slew of energy watchdogs expect the bill — deliberations on which began in 2017 — to focus on spurring renewable energy use in Indonesia, a country lagging well behind its green energy commitments. Regulations stipulate that Indonesia should have reached a 17.5 percent renewable energy mix by 2019, yet the country only hit 12.36 percent that year. “This bill has been held back for three years,” analyst Jannata Giwangkara of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) said on Wednesday. “It will not immediately solve the issue but it needs to be supported by derivative regulations.” WWF Indonesia climate and energy manager Indra Sari Wardhani added: “The renewables industry is still very nascent. Don’t give it more challenges and competition.”
The business and watchdogs’ pleas responded to the fact that nuclear power plants and new energy technologies have made their way into the draft bill under Article 6 and Article 7, according to the copy.  The latter article outlines the role of the government, private sector, state-owned enterprises (SOE) and a “regulatory agency” in developing nuclear and new energy facilities…….
Indonesia has three small nuclear power plants for research but no commercial-scale plant, the construction of which is an endeavor being pursued by United States-based Thorcon.   https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/09/25/tug-of-war-stakeholders-clash-over-nuclear-fossil-fuel-addition-to-green-energy-bill.html

September 26, 2020 Posted by | Indonesia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear plan with USA firm – a dubious deal for Indonesia

July 30, 2020 Posted by | Indonesia, thorium | Leave a comment

Nuclear Agency employee accused of illegally storing radioactive waste at his home

Nuclear Agency Employee Named Suspect for Storing Radioactive Waste, https://jakartaglobe.id/news/nuclear-agency-employee-named-suspect-for-storing-radioactive-waste, BY :GARDI GAZARIN, MARCH 14, 2020

Jakarta. An employee of the National Nuclear Energy Agency, or Batan, was named suspect for illegally storing radioactive waste at his home in Batan Indah housing complex in South Tangerang, Banten, police have said.

The news came a month after nuclear authorities launched decontamination operation at the housing complex, followed by criminal investigation by the National Police.

The cleanup, that took weeks to complete, was called after the Batan and the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapeten) detected radiation in the area. Around 100 drums of soil and grass containing radioactive substance have been removed from the area.

The suspect, identified by initials S.M., is accused of storing radioactive substance called Cesium-137 and dumping toxic waste at the housing complex, National Police’s special crimes director Brig. Gen. Agung Budijono said on Friday.

“We named S.M. as suspect after we conducted the crime scene investigation,” Agung told Jakarta Globe’s sister publication Beritasatu.com.

“At least 26 witnesses, including Batan and Bapeten officials, have been questioned by the police and it was learned that S.M. has no license for storing and processing radioactive waste,” he said.

The suspect is alleged to have run illegal decontamination services for money at his home. He is charged under the 1997 law on nuclear energy, which carries a sentence of up to two years’ imprisonment.

His position at Batan was not disclosed.

A joint investigation involving Batan, Bapeten and police was formed last month after radiation was detected and nine resident had to undergo medical examination for fear of exposure to Cesium-137, which may pose serious risks to human health including cancer and death.

Nuclear agencies ban companies who hold license to use Cesium-137 from storing or managing radioactive waste themselves. They must send it to Batan’s Center for Radioactive Waste Technology in South Tangerang.

The Batan facility is located around 45 kilometers from the housing complex.

March 16, 2020 Posted by | incidents, Indonesia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Indonesia warned on dangers of nuclear power, advantages of renewable energy

March 14, 2020 Posted by | Indonesia, safety | Leave a comment

Illegal radioactive substances found in South Tangerang house, Jakarta

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Indonesia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Positive tests for Caesium-137 in some South Tangerang residents

Two people living in South Tangerang exposed to radioactive waste: Nuclear agency, News Desk, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta   /   Sat, February 22, 2020 . The Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapeten) has reported that two people living in South Tangerang at the Batan Indah housing complex in Banten, where radioactive materials were recently found discarded, had tested positive for exposure to Caesium-137……..https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/02/22/two-people-living-in-south-tangerang-exposed-to-radioactive-waste-nuclear-agency.html

February 24, 2020 Posted by | incidents, Indonesia | Leave a comment

Indonesian authorities investigate suspected nuclear waste dumping at housing estate

February 20, 2020 Posted by | Indonesia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby’s keen propaganda campaign in Indonesia

Nuclear tourism experience in Bandung to be launched in October   https://www.thejakartapost.com/travel/2019/09/18/nuclear-tourism-experience-in-bandung-to-be-launched-in-october.html, THE JAKARTA POST, Jakarta  /  Wed, September 18, 2019  

The National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) is set to launch a nuclear tourism experience on Oct. 30, aiming to introduce nuclear technology to the public.

“We will have an open house to present the results of our research and development team from 2015 to 2019,” said Jupiter Sitorus Pane, head of the Science and Applied Nuclear Technology Center of Batan in Bandung on Wednesday to Antara news agency.

Jupiter said travelers can visit a number of places related to Batan in Bandung, such as reactors, isotopes production lab, the reactor conversion lab and Applied Nuclear Technology Center.

“Our target market is students and those interested in nuclear sciences. As this is a nuclear facility and considered a vital object, visitors must be at least 18 years old,” he said, adding that the tour will be free of charge.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Indonesia, marketing | Leave a comment

Strong rejection of nuclear power for Indonesia

Idea to develop nuclear energy receives strong opposition in Indonesia, The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, July 19, 2019  A lawmaker’s revival of an idea to build a nuclear power plant in Indonesia has triggered public debate over the pros and cons of the technology, particularly about its safety and efficiency.The proposal came from Kurtubi, a member of House of Representatives Commission VII for energy affairs, among others, who demanded the government include that type of energy generation in the 2019 to 2038 National Electricity General Plan (RUKN)……..

In response, Jonan said the government would be very cautious when considering the idea, while there were still many other energy resources in the country that had lower development costs than a nuclear power plant. “The prices of electricity from nuclear energy is less competitive,” he added. …….

Greenpeace Asia Tenggara’s climate change and energy head Tata Mustafa expressed his rejection of the idea, stressing that the country needed to focus on the development of other renewable energy resources.

“The potential of solar energy is 207 gigawatts (GW), while the potential of wind farm energy reached 66 GW,” he said as quoted by kontan.co.id, adding that he doubted the safety of nuclear energy, particularly because of the country’s position on the Ring of Fire that was frequently hit by earthquakes.

Institute for Essential Services Reform executive director Fabby Tumiwa also opposed the plan. He said he was particularly concerned about the management of radioactive waste. “The life span of a nuclear power plant is only 50 years, but radioactive waste will exist for thousands of years. Who will be responsible?” he asked. (bbn)  https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/07/18/idea-to-develop-nuclear-energy-receives-strong-opposition-in-indonesia.html

July 20, 2019 Posted by | Indonesia, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

International Atomic Energy Agency trying hard to market nuclear power to Indonesia (never mind the earthquakes)

IAEA Director General Visits Indonesia: Highlights Close Cooperation in Using Nuclear Technology, 

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano praised the cooperation between Indonesia and the IAEA in bringing the benefits of nuclear technology to countries in Asia and Africa, during his visit to the country earlier this week. He pointed to areas such as enhancing food security, cattle cultivation, and plant breeding, where Indonesia has assisted trainees from Mozambique and Papua New Guinea.

During the visit, Director General Amano and Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education Muhammad Nasir, further strengthened this cooperation, signing Practical Arrangements on enhancing technical cooperation among developing countries. The Practical Arrangements cover a three-year period (2018-2021).

“Indonesia is an advanced user of nuclear technology in many areas and shares its expertise with other countries,” he said………

Mr Amano was also briefed on the consideration being given to possible nuclear power development and areas in which IAEA support would be required.  He noted that having nuclear energy is a Member State’s internal decision and the IAEA stands ready to support efforts when a national decision is made. Elements, such as the IAEA Milestone Approach, which includes public communication, stakeholder involvement and setting up of a nuclear energy programme implementation organization, were covered.  https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-director-general-visits-indonesia-highlights-close-cooperation-in-using-nuclear-technology

February 10, 2018 Posted by | Indonesia, marketing | Leave a comment