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Disaster-prone, but still hungry for nuclear energy JAKARTA - In the hope of bringing electricity to some of Indonesia's 90 million people who are currently without it, the country is proceeding with plans to build four nuclear reactors, despite growing opposition sparked by the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan.

Following a record-setting earthquake and ensuing tsunami that left more than 21,526 people recorded as dead or missing as of 21 March, attempts to cool damaged overheating reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continue.

For years, Indonesia - the world's fourth most populous country - has grappled with a power crisis, with even cities like the capital Jakarta frequently hit by blackouts, and is turning to nuclear energy as part of the solution. The government estimates Indonesia will need 450,000 megawatts of electricity by 2050; current capacity is 25,000 megawatts.

"We have to look to the future. Our people need to have access to electricity. Other than that, nuclear energy is clean because it doesn't produce greenhouse gasses or acid rain, even though the initial cost is high. Our law states that nuclear is part of Indonesia's energy mix," Ferhat Aziz, spokesman for the government's National Atomic Energy Agency (BATAN).

Despite a national economy that boasted 6.1 percent growth in 2010, only 65 percent of the country has mains electricity, lagging behind most other countries in the region, according to the World Bank. Two-thirds of Indonesians without electricity live in rural areas, mostly outside Java and Bali islands, the Bank said. This lack of electricity has worsened access to food in the poorest areas, such as Papua and East Nusa Tenggara provinces.

A recently published study using data from 2002-2005, found that for every 1 percent increase in the proportion of households with electricity in Indonesia's Java Province, the area's Human Development Index increased by 0.2 percent. The authors concluded: "Electricity infrastructure has a greater influence on human development than other types of infrastructure, such as clean water, roads or the number of classrooms per student."


Related blog entries (category 'Power supply') Related blog entries (category 'Power supply'):
15 December 2010 · Kalimantan awaits Jakarta’s signal on nuclear power plant
05 December 2010 · Half of Lebak residents still not connected to power grid
02 December 2010 · Govt studies Bangka Belitung for nuclear plant
11 July 2010 · Price of electricity increase up to 18%
21 June 2010 · Possible power price hike already causes anger
19 May 2010 · IAEA: Indonesia ready to have nuclear power plants

Related blog entries (category 'Power supply') Tags: nuclear, power, natural, disaster, Japan


Posted in Power supply @ 22 March 2011 04:40 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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