Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), through the Directorate of Environmental, Maritime, Natural Resources, and Nuclear Energy Development Policy, held a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on nuclear energy policy, and its implementation in the transition of energy towards Net Zero Emission (NZE) and sustainable development.

BRIN’s Acting Director of Environmental, Maritime, Natural Resources and Nuclear Energy Development Policy, Muhammad Abdul Kholiq, said in the FGD held at Swiss-Bellhotel, Bogor, Thursday (10/03), that such this discussion is needed to get inputs in the drafting of policy on utilization of New and Renewable Energy (EBT), particularly nuclear energy.

“This discussion is needed to get inputs in drafting a policy on the use of EBT, especially nuclear energy, in the transition of energy to NZE, so that the quality of the formulated policy is in accordance with the expectations of the relevant stakeholders,” he said.

Meanwhile, member of the National Energy Council (DEN), As Natio Lasman, revealed the opportunities and challenges of introducing nuclear energy in Indonesia from a policy perspective. He is of the opinion that one of the energy challenges in Indonesia is depletion of fossil energy reserves, and that the government is obliged to find alternative sources of renewable energy that are more environmentally friendly.

As Natio said, according to the roadmap to NZE, to replace the retired fossil power plant, the first nuclear power plant is scheduled to operate with a total power of 7.7 GWe in 2036 – 2040.

“The challenge is that the government must immediately launch the Go-Nuclear program in 2025, taking into account the nuclear power plant construction period which takes 7 to 8 years,” said As Natio.

As Natio concluded, one of the national energy policies as incorporated in the National Grand Energy Strategy (GSEN) 2021-2035 is to build electricity transmission and distribution, smart grids, off grids, and Nuclear Power Plants (PLTN) according to needs, and establishment of Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO).

On the same occasion, BAPPENAS Deputy for Maritime Affairs and Natural Resources, Arifin Rudiyanto, said that according to the Paris Declaration, Indonesia targets a 23 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This is Indonesia’s effort to support transformation to a green economy and low-carbon development.

Arifin also conveyed the NZE scenario in the energy sector. “To anticipate  massive energy demand in line with economic transformation and re-industrialization, power plants are needed to supply large-scale yet relatively inexpensive energy. Nuclear power plants are one of the options that are expected to start before 2040,” said Arifin.

Meanwhile, the Director of Electricity Program Development at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Jisman Hutajulu, explained the energy transition roadmap and strategy to meet the NZE, and transition of fossil power plants to EBT, as well as details of fossil generator retirement.

Government Regulation No. 79 of 2014 concerning National Energy Policy, explained Jisman, mandates energy security, namely guaranty of energy availability, public access to energy at affordable prices in the long term, while still observing environmental protection.

“In the current condition, 85 percent of the national electricity supply comes from fossils, and 15 percent comes from NRE,” he added.

Jisman also conveyed the PLN 2021-2030 Electric Power Supply Business Plan (RUPTL) as a Green RUPTL, which stipulates among others no longer adding coal-fired power plants, except those that had financial closing or construction.

“In addition, increasing the portion of NRE power plants compared to fossil generators, from 30 percent to 70 percent in the 2019-2028 RUPTL, to 48 percent to 52 percent in the 2021-2030 RUPTL,” he explained.

With regard to the NZE target, Jisman continued, electricity supply in 2060 will be projected entirely from EBT-based plants, namely solar (17,955 MW), water (83,354 MW), wind (39,226 MW), bioenergy (37,463 MW), nuclear (35,000 MW). MW), geothermal (17,955 MW), and ocean currents (13,378 MW).

Socio-Political Challenges in the Nuclear Power Plant Development Program

Senior Researcher at BRIN’s Nuclear Energy Research Organization (ORTN), Djarot Sulistio Wisnubroto, said the main challenge in the nuclear power plant development program is not technology, but rather socio-politics.

“Indonesia’s human resources and infrastructure are ready for the nuclear power plant development program. The main challenge is not technology, but socio-political issues,” he said.

Other challenges are strict regulations, relatively high investment costs, long development duration, and long term waste storage.

Meanwhile, the advantages, added Djarot, are low carbon, reliable energy sources, requiring a small area of ​​land, competitive electricity prices, supply security, and long life span of power plants, which can operate for up to 80 years.

He also said that currently, nuclear power plants account for 10.1 percent of the world’s electricity supply. There are 30 countries that operate nuclear power plants, among which the largest are the United States, France, China, Russia, and Japan.

“In addition, several countries are planning and currently constructing nuclear power plants,” he explained.

Indonesia, explained Djarot, has already conducted feasibility studies in several areas, such as the Muria Peninsula – Jepara, Bangka, and most recently in West Kalimantan. We have then also operate research reactors, prepare nuclear energy infrastructure, disseminate, and hold surveys on public acceptance (mdb/ed: tnt).