Indonesia projects first nuclear power plant operational by 2011
Aug 6, 2006, 6:35 GMT
Jakarta - Indonesia's first 1,200-megawatt nuclear power plant is projected to be in operation by 2011, a senior government official said in a report published on Sunday.
Indonesia, the world's fourth most-populous nation, has intensified its plans for the construction of nuclear power plants in an attempt to alleviate dependency on oil-and-gas to accommodate the growing demand for electricity, said Eko Hatmo, a senior official at the state-run national Atomic Energy Agency [Batan].
'For the preliminary step, a nuclear power plant unit will be built in the area of Mount Muria, central Java,' said Hatmo.
Government officials said recently that they have planned to let contracts next year to build four plants with total capacity of 4,000 megawatts, expected to be fully operational by 2025.
However, Indonesian environmentalist groups have warned against the potential dangers of such a facility, saying there are cheaper, safer ways to generate power since the country has abundant geothermal, coal and natural gas resources.
Activists argued that building a nuclear plant on crowded Java would risk catastrophe because of the frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes on the island. Indonesia is part of the Pacific 'Ring of Fire,' where seismic activity is commonplace.
Java accounts for more than 60 per cent of Indonesia's 220 million people.
But officials said construction of the nuclear power plant was aimed to overcome electricity shortages, in particular the Java-Bali grid. They also insisted that Mount Muria was chosen because feasibility studies showed it was the safest area in terms of volcanic and tectonic activities and tsunami threats.
Mount Muria, located on the northern part of Central Java, has been dormant for more than 3,000 years, officials said.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur