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Indonesians told to 'think twice’ before going nuclear

Publication Date : 03-05-2012

 

Japanese experts have warned the Indonesian government to be very careful when deciding whether to generate power from nuclear energy, arguing that the archipelago is prone to natural disasters.

Japanese experts Heizo Takenaka and Yoichi Funabashi said that even their own country, which is among the most technologically advanced in the world, still has problems in dealing with the double whammy of last year’s tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown that followed.

Takenaka, a former internal affairs and communications minister, said Japan dealt with a massive crisis after the quake struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011.

Funabashi said that it was the worst crisis the country had faced since World War II.

Funabashi led an independent investigation team, established by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, to review how the Japanese government and other agencies responded to the disaster.

He said the team discovered that the then prime minister Naoto Kan had secretly summoned Shunsuke Kondo, chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, to present him with the worst-case scenario for a nuclear accident.

In that scenario, Kondo said that radiation could have reached areas 200 kilometres away from Fukushima and more than 30 million people in Tokyo must be evacuated. “That’s how serious the situation was,” Funabashi said.

Responding to Indonesia’s plan to have its own nuclear plant, Takenaka said that although each country could decide its own energy policy, Indonesia should consider the fact that it is located on the
"Pacific Ring of Fire”, making it prone to disaster.

"Radiation will have a lasting impact, so you have to take into account a lot of things before building a power plant. You have to think about the cost of its management, its security and its restoration should anything happen. It’s very costly, time consuming and risky,” Funabashi said.

There are no nuclear plants in Indonesia, but the government has expressed interest in building one. The country has two agencies overseeing nuclear issues: The National Nuclear Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Regulator Agency and Institute of Nuclear Technology.

An earthquake in Aceh last month raised concerns about the plan.

 

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