Russia offers RI help on
nuclear power

Russia has said it was ready to provide Indonesia with assistance to build its own nuclear power plant.

Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Alexander Ivanov said in a press conference Tuesday that the possibility of building a nuclear plant in Indonesia was one of many issues Russia was willing to discuss in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) later this year.

He said developing renewable energy cooperation with Indonesia was part of a new mechanism of Russia-ASEAN relations in Asia.

“We signed a deal with Vietnam to build a [nuclear power plant], and last year we made a presentation on nuclear power in Indonesia to the energy [and mineral resources] minister. But we think it’s up to the Indonesian government to [decide on] building the atomic power plant,” Ivanov said.

The Indonesian government has floated the idea to building a nuclear power plant to boost the country’s electricity grid while reducing reliance of fossil fuels.

Public resistance has long been the main barrier to the proposal’s implementation. A previous plan to build a nuclear power plant in Muria, Jepara, Central Java, faced strong opposition from locals and NGOs.

Indonesia currently has three small nuclear reactors — in Serpong, Banten, in Yogyakarta and in Bandung, West Java. The reactors produce a combined 90 megawatts of electricity.

Apart from Muria, the government also suggested building a nuclear power plant in Bangka Belitung and Kalimantan.

While acknowledging that some people in Indonesia “don’t agree with the idea of having a nuclear power plant”, Ivanov said the Russian government has allocated special funds to finance joint projects, a workshop on renewable energy for ASEAN and the establishment of the ASEAN Center.

“We have contributed US$1.75 million. Russia expects to spend US$1.5 million per year,” he said.

The dialogue partnership of Russian and ASEAN was established in 1996. In 2004 Russia exceeded the treaty of amity cooperation, also known as the Bali Treaty. In previous years, Russia and ASEAN foreign ministers signed joint declarations of partnership in political cooperation, economic trade, culture and humanitarian aid.

Combating terrorism was also on the agenda, with Russia planning to hold talks at ASEAN summits. Ivanov said terrorism was not only a domestic issue, but an international problem and had become a threat to Russia.

Last year in Moscow, ASEAN sign a deal with Russia to work on combatting terrorism. Ivanov said he believed that with the support of ASEAN and bodies such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Russia was likely to see a breakthrough in combating terrorism.

”We’re ready to help to ensure stability in Asia Pacific,” he said.

Other programs in the Russia-ASEAN partnership are aimed at establishing a foreign language for business and professional groups and building e-commerce for small-scale enterprises.

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