Indonesian nuclear plans discredited

30 August 2001

Indonesian delegates at the COP6 climate talks in Bonn said plans put forward by former president Suharto for an Indonesian nuclear power programme have been discredited.

Previously, Indonesia planned to build a nuclear power plant on Java. However, since Suharto was ousted from power, and his former political allies lost their influence, there has been a fall off of interest in the programme.

At COP6, Indonesia joined with other G77 developing countries in keeping nuclear energy out of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol.

Indonesian energy planners now hope to exploit geothermal energy, with a plan to build 20GWe of baseload capacity.

The new Indonesian president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, is said to have closest supporters with strong ties with the oil and gas industries, who see nuclear power as a threat to their own energy fuel empires.

Last year, advocates of nuclear energy in Indonesia vowed to keep the nuclear plans on track. However, western executives whose firms, including AECL and General Electric, which supported the nuclear plans of the 1990s have lost their enthusiasm in the wake of the economic and political crises there.

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