THE dream for construction of a nuclear power plant (PLTN) began in 1972. Actually, the idea has been around since the 1950s, although only came up in seminars. In the 1970s, its aspirations were getting close to realization with the establishment of the Commission for PLTN Construction Preparation by the National Atomic Energy Agency—now the National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan). Based on a study, there are 14 places where a PLTN could be built. The Muria Peninsula was determined to be the most ideal.
According to Hudi Bastowo, head of Batan, the power plant was considered for the ground of energy diversification. “So that we don’t have to be too dependent on oil,” he said. However, the plan did not go smoothly due to the fact that Indonesia is still an oil-rich country and the market price is still relatively cheap. Works in Muria began again in 1985 by re-evaluating and conducting new research with help from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In August 1991, an agreement for a study was signed by Indonesia and an electrical energy consultant from Japan, Newjec Inc. Three years later, three potential sites were identified in Muria, and the best candidate was the Ujung Lemahabang PLTN site. The study was completed in May 1996.
The issue of PLTN was brought up again during the President Abdurrahman Wahid period. At that time, Wahid invited the IAEA to do another study in Indonesia. The result, according to Hastowo, was that the IAEA determined that a PLTN could be built by the year 2017. According to the previous head of Batan, Soedyartomo Soentono, the power plant construction tender will begin in 2008 and enter the construction stage in 2011. The research results were given to the government in August 2003, but no decision has been made up to this time.
Tempo Magazine, No. 02/VIII/September 11-17, 2007