Serpong – BRIN Public Relations. The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) are concerned with environmental issues and climate change. The agency supports the Net Zero Emission (NZE) target by the year 2060, especially in meeting Indonesia’s future electricity needs. One of efforts made by BRIN through the Nuclear Energy Research Organization (ORTN) is to continue developing nuclear energy technology for the construction of a Nuclear Power Plant (PLTN), which is currently still under the review stage.

This was the topic of discussion between Prof. Emil Salim, member of the BRIN Steering Committee and Acting Head of ORTN and his staff in an online discussion on the ORTN program plan, Monday (24/01). According to Emil Salim, there are several factors that must be considered in the development of nuclear energy technology in Indonesia, including the cost, time, human resource skills or abilities and the cultural and safety factor.

“We are a developing country which economic condition is hard hit by the COVID-19. Hence the state’s costs or finances are limited, both for short-term and long-term innovation. The cost factor is important, we need to compare the costs for nuclear energy and the cost for other energies,” said Emil.

“Furthermore, this nuclear technology requires skills, expertise. We will see if the skills in the nuclear technology develop in 2024 and 2026, whether Indonesian skills are still up to standard, so that we are not lagged behind in skills. Knowledge of nuclear technology must continue to keep abreast of current technological developments,” he continued.

In addition, according to Emil, the cultural and safety factors including waste from nuclear use must also be a concern in the development of nuclear energy in the future. “With regard to skills, there is a cultural factor, and the cultural factor contains safety factor. Nuclear technology is not a simple thing, as it poses risks, so handling it requires sophisticated skills because there are safety issues here, “said Emil.

Emil Salim said that there are 2 timelines at BRIN in an effort to develop research into innovation. “There is a short-term view for years 2022 to 2024, and a long-term view for years 2022 to 2026. What can be achieved in that timeline, which research can develop and produce innovation, because BRIN is the place for research and innovation,” he said.

Acting head of ORTN, Agus Sumaryanto, invited his staff to prepare a summary of ideas in terms of the economic benefits of nuclear technology innovation as a consideration for the Steering Committee. “I hope this week we will have prepared the idea in the form of summary, what we need to convey is the economic benefit,” said Agus.

On the same occasion, Acting Head of the Center for Nuclear Reactor Safety Research and Technology, Dhandhang Purwadi, explained that one of the developments in nuclear reactor technology is Small Modular Reactor & Micro Reactor as an Alternative Energy Source.

According to Dhandang, small modular reactors and micro reactors are the best choice at this time in meeting the need for electrical energy and also as a solution to support the CO2 emission-free strategy in 2060. In addition, he said, micro reactor technology can stand alone and can also be integrated with other energy-producing facilities such as water, wind and solar energy.

“These two types of reactors are complementary with intermittent renewable energy sources, so that they can be used as backup power. The construction is very fast, about three years along with site preparation. As they are smaller in size, the capital cost is lower and is suitable for remote areas. The small modular one can even be set up in big cities,” said Dhandang.

On this occasion, Acting Head of Isotope and Radiation Application Research and Technology Center, Roziq Himawan presented about the facility of Merah Putih Gamma Irradiator (IGMP) as the irradiation facility used among others to serve SMEs and industries in food preservation and sterilization of medical devices.

Another presentation was delivered by Acting Head of Nuclear Energy System Research Center, Sunarko. He talked about the safety factors that do not only refer to the national standards but also international standards. While, Ratiko, Acting Head of Radioactive Waste Research and Technology Center, presented that the Nuclear Power Research Office has years of experience in managing radioactive waste including its storage. (yrt/ed:pur)