Today I received some text messages from friends warning about the spread of radioactive materials from the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan damaged by the recent earthquake and tsunami, that may be blown by the wind to other countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.
I was not fooled by this messages because I have been following the news about this matter since yesterday, therefore I understand that the main part of the Fukushima nuclear reactor is still safe.
But I can understand why people are very worried, because they still remember about the blast of the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, Russia in 1986, in which tens of thousands of people were by radioactive materials leaked from the reactor.
Fear of such nuclear tragedy has cause pro and contra on the government's plan to build large nuclear power reactors in this country.
Actually, nuclear reactor is not something new for Indonesia, as a matter of fact according to Wikipedia Indonesia has built and operated Nuclear Research Reactors for many decades.
Today, the National Atomic Energy Agency (BATAN) operates three nuclear research reactors at the following locations :
1) Serpong, Banten : 30 MW Multi-Purpose Reactor (1987)
2) Bandung, West Java : Triga Mark II (250 Kw in 1965, 2 MW in 1997)
3) Yogyakarta : Triga Mark II (100 Kw in 1979)
Indonesia is viable to build a nuclear reactor in every provinces due to there are ample stocks of materials and appropriate geological support. Various locations have been proposed for building nuclear reactors that will actually be taken into production for the purpose of generating electricity:
1) Muria, Central Java
2) Gorontalo, in the North of Sulawesi
3) Bangka Belitung province
As a legal basis for the development of nuclear power reactors, Indonesia has promulgated the Nuclear Power Law in 1997, which stipulated that Indonesia shall have a lot much bigger nuclear power reactor in 2019 that will provide much more electric power (at least 200 MW) for the country.
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.