Nuclear Power in Indonesia

(Updated August 2022)

  • Indonesia has a greater depth of experience and infrastructure in nuclear technology than any other country in southeast Asia.
  • A 10 MWe experimental nuclear power reactor is planned to be built at Serpong, near Jakarta. Conceptual design has been completed by Russia.
  • Plans for larger units are delayed. Deployment in 2045 is envisaged.

Electricity sector

Total generation (in 2020): 288 TWh

Generation mix: coal 181 TWh (62%); natural gas 50.8 TWh (18%); hydro 19.5 TWh (7%); geothermal 15.6 TWh (5%); biofuels & waste 13.6 TWh (5%); oil 7.2 TWh (3%); wind 0.5 TWh.

Import/export balance: 1.6 TWh import (no export)

Total consumption: 260 TWh (2019 data)

Per capita consumption: c. 1000 kWh in 2019

Source: International Energy Agency and The World Bank. Data for year 2020.

Indonesia's population of about 270 million was served by power generation capacity of only 70 GWe in 2019. The country's per capita consumption is well below its neighbouring economies. Indonesia is committed to reducing emissions by 29% versus a business-as-usual scenario by the year 2030*.

*The business-as-usual scenario is based on 2010 emissions levels increasing at the same rate as the 2000-2010 historical trajectory. Under this scenario, emissions levels would increase from 1805 MtCO2e in 2020 to 2885 MtCO2e in 2030. A 29% reduction on the business-as-usual 2030 levels would therefore equate to 2030 emissions being 13% higher than 2020 emissions.

The government of Indonesia aims to provide universal access to electricity by 2025. As of 2021, the electrification rate was reported to be about 99.5%, up sharply from about 67% in 2010. For those connected to the grid, however, blackouts remain frequent. PT PLN (Persero)**, the national power utility, projects that consumption by 2025 will be 457 TWh, an increase of over 70% from 2020, driven by growth in population (1% per annum), increasing per capita consumption, and the continuing expansion of the country's energy-intensive industrial sector.

** PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (State Electricity Company), usually referred to as 'PLN'.

In February 2014, the government issued its National Energy Policy (NEP), which strongly supports the growth and use of new renewable energy (NRE). Nuclear is included as NRE, and the NEP set a target of 4000 MW for installed nuclear capacity. In June 2016 the president delivered a speech at the National Energy Council outlining the establishment of a roadmap of nuclear power plants, building of a research power reactor, and the establishment of international networks.

Earlier in March 2015 the government issued a white paper on national energy development policy to 2050. In this, nuclear power was expected to provide 5 GWe by 2025, alongside other new and renewable sources providing 12 GWe. However, the National Energy General Plan (Rencana Umum Energi Nasional, RUEN) to 2050, which was signed by the president in January 2017, excludes major nuclear capacity, with large increases in oil, gas and renewables.

In October 2021 the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources approved PLN’s 2021-2030 Electricity Supply Business Plan (RUPTL). The report projects an average annual power demand growth rate of 4.9%, compared with 6.4% in the 2019-2028 RUPTL. The plan looks to transition away from the reliance on fossil fuels, reducing generation to just 20 GW. PLN aims to replace fossil fuel generation with an additional 21 GW of renewables, a 22% increase in the share of capacity compared to the previous plan. Although the plan does highlight small modular reactors as a potential option to transition away from fossil fuels, as well as identifying several locations that have potential for nuclear power projects, nuclear power development targets by 2040 are not included in the plan.

In November 2021 the Minister announced that nuclear power could be deployed in 2045.

Nuclear proposals – large scale

Indonesia has long-considered large-scale nuclear power development. 

Following earlier tentative proposals, in 1989 the government initiated a study focused on the Muria Peninsula in central Java and carried out by the National Atomic Energy Agency (BATANBadan Tenaga Nuklir Nasional). It led to a comprehensive feasibility study for a 7000 MWe plant, completed in 1996, with Ujung Lemahabang as the specific site, selected for its tectonic stability. Plans for the initial plant on the Muria Peninsula in central Java were then deferred indefinitely early in 1997. A National Nuclear Act was passed in 1997.

In 2001 a power generation strategy showed that introduction of a nuclear plant on the 500 kV Java-Bali grid would be possible in 2016 for 2 GWe rising to 6-7 GWe in 2025, using proven 1000 MWe technology with an investment cost of $2000/kWe. Under the 2006 National Electricity Planning Scheme 2006-26 and Presidential Decree #43 the project could be given to an independent power producer to build and operate. Sites on the central north coast of Java were under consideration at that time, with access to the country’s main grid infrastructure. Plans were to call tenders in 2008 for two 1000 MWe units, Muria 1&2, leading to decision in 2010 with construction starting soon after and commercial operation from 2016 and 2017, but these were put on hold.

In 2006 the government revealed it had $8 billion earmarked for four nuclear plants – a total of 6 GWe to be operational by 2025 – and aimed to meet 2% of power demand from nuclear by 2017. It was anticipated that nuclear generation cost would be about 4 cents/kWh (US), compared with 7 ¢/kWh for oil and gas.

In July 2007 Korea Electric Power Corp. and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) signed a memorandum of understanding with Indonesia's PT Medco Energi Internasional to progress a feasibility study on building two 1000 MWe OPR-1000 units from KHNP at a cost of US$ 3 billion - part of a wider energy collaboration.

Proposed locations

In mid-2010, three sites were being considered for main plants:

  • Muria (central Java, actually 3 locations);
  • Banten (west Java); and
  • Bangka Island (off southern Sumatra to NE, 2 locations: West Bangka and South Bangka).

All are on the north shores, away from the tectonic subduction zone. Over 2011-13 BATAN undertook a feasibility study for Bangka, and it signed an agreement with the Bangka-Belitung provincial government. Bangka is far from any active volcano, has low seismic hazard, no tsunami hazard (shallow sea), and low population. Site evaluation of Muntok, West Bangka and Permis, South Bangka, showed both to be suitable for some 10 GWe capacity meeting 40% of the demand in Sumatra, Java and Bali. Most of this capacity would be at the West Bangka site, with 600 MWe at Permis. After a change in provincial government, these Bangka sites receded from immediate consideration.

BATAN’s focus in 2013 shifted to West Kalimantan, using small reactor units suited to the relative lack of grid infrastructure there and where most electricity is imported from Malaysia. Six designs were being evaluated. In November 2013 the Research & Technology Ministry (RISTEK) affirmed its intention of building a small (e.g. 30 MWe) power reactor, at an unspecified place.

In December 2014 BATAN announced site investigations at Jepara, on the west side of the Muria peninsula, Central Java, and Bangka-Belitung. It said: “Both regions are feasible for nuclear power plant development – about 12 units in Jepara with a capacity each of 1,000 MWe and 10 units in Bangka Belitung with each having a capacity of 1,000 MWe.” In May 2015 the Energy & Mineral Resources ministry said that a feasibility study on building a nuclear power plant at Bangka-Belitung had been completed and another was under way for Kalimantan. The question of whether such a plant would be under PT PLN or private remained open.

According to JAEA, BATAN published plans in June 2014 for two 1000 MWe LWR reactors on Java, Madura or Bali from 2027, and for two more in Sumatra (Bangka?) from 2031. This is unconfirmed from BATAN but was reported in connection with the JAEA HTR agreement in 2014.

In September 2015 Rusatom Overseas signed an agreement with BATAN on the construction of large nuclear power plants in Indonesia. It also referred to floating nuclear power plants (FNPP, see below).

In January 2016 BATAN said that a nuclear energy programme implementation organization (NEPIO) was planned for launch that year, to move towards having up to four large reactors online by 2025. This did not proceed.

Nuclear proposals – small scale

In December 2013, on the 55th anniversary of founding BATAN, the minister said that a 30 MW experimental nuclear power reactor, Reaktor Daya Eksperimental (RDE), also referred to as Reaktor Daya Non Komersial (non-commercial power reactor, RDNK), and a gamma irradiation facility would be built by BATAN at Serpong, the site of its largest research reactor. In March 2015 BATAN said:

“RDE/RDNK is a strategy of the government to introduce the nuclear reactor which produces electricity and at the same time could be used for experiment/research. The RDE selected is the fourth generation which possesses higher safety technology than the previous generations. RDE is a miniature nuclear power plant which in the future could be applied to regions which do not need a large power source, especially in the Central and Eastern parts of Indonesia.” As well as producing electricity, “eventually this type of reactor could be utilized for desalination, production of hydrogen, and coal liquefaction process... Several countries are attracted to become partners of Indonesia to contribute in the development of the RDE/RDNK, among others Japan, China, South Africa and Russia.” BATAN then expected that the RDE/RDNK might operate from 2019. 

In April 2015 Rusatom announced that a consortium of Russian and Indonesian companies led by NUKEM Technologies had won a contract for the preliminary design of the multi-purpose 10 MWt HTR in Indonesia, which would be “a flagship project in the future of Indonesia’s nuclear program.” The RDE experimental reactor would be a pebble-bed HTR at Serpong. NUKEM is already involved with fuel for the research reactors there, and it has considerable expertise in HTRs from Germany and South Africa. The reason for deciding on an HTR is that there is more potential for process heat and hydrogen for fertilizers.

In April 2016 BATAN’s website showed that it was planning to build a test and demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR) of 10 MWt as a RDE. The IAEA has supported this through a technical cooperation project focused both on design review with BATAN and on licensing with BAPETEN. The site for this and an NRE laboratory is about 2km southwest of the main BATAN complex. Atomstroyexport, OKBM and SRI SIA Luch are involved, with Atomproekt, part of the ASE Group, as architect general. The contract covers a feasibility study on the conceptual design and the basic design documentation. These were completed by OKBM Afrikantov in December 2015. BATAN said in March 2018 that it aimed to complete the RDE detailed engineering design by the end of the year, and then plans to call for bids to construct the reactor, for both electricity and process heat, in 2019-2020. BATAN signed an agreement with PT PLN for a further feasibility study in August 2019.

RDE/RDNK plans were with a view to a number of 100 MWe units following in Kalimantan, Sulawesi and islands. Construction of the demonstration unit was expected to take four years. Following this, BATAN envisaged the start-up of conventional large light water reactors on the populous islands of Bali, Java, Madura and Sumatra from 2027 onwards.

Russia is keen to export floating nuclear power plants (FNPP), on a fully-serviced basis, to Indonesia as a means of providing power to its smaller inhabited islands. In August 2015 Rosatom and BATAN signed a cooperation agreement on the construction of these. Earlier, the province of Gorontalo on Sulawesi was reported to be considering an FNPP from Russia.

Earlier in August 2016, China Nuclear Engineering Corporation (CNEC) signed a cooperation agreement with BATAN to develop HTRs in Indonesia. CNEC reported that Indonesia aimed to construct small HTRs on Kalimantan and Sulawesi from 2027.

Independently of these HTR plans, in October 2015 Martingale from the USA signed an agreement with the Indonesia Thorium Consortium – comprising state-owned companies PT Industry Nuklir Indonesia (INUKI), PT PLN and PT Pertamina – to build a ThorCon thorium molten salt reactor to generate electricity. Martingale is developing the ThorCon 250 MWe design, and aimed to commission one there in the 2020s. In March 2017 Pertamina, INUKI and PLN completed a preliminary feasibility study on the Thorcon proposal which was positive, and the consortium then sought approval from BATAN. The company says that after testing in a full-scale pre-fission test facility, the phase 1 plan is to build a 500 MWe ThorConIsle unit (two modules) to prove the design, and then proceed to shipyard construction of further units to provide 3 GWe in the country. In July 2019 the state shipbuilding company, PT PAL Indonesia, signed an agreement with ThorCon to conduct a development study and build a 500 MWe plant. PAL would build the reactor as EPC contractor and put it on a barge built by Daewoo in South Korea. It was to be located near Bangka Belitung and operated from 2028. However in October 2021 there was no mention of ThorCon on INUKI or BATAN websites.

In addition, before any of the above small-scale proposals, BATAN had undertaken a pre-feasibility study for a small Korean SMART reactor for power and desalination on Madura island. However, this awaits the building of a reference plant in Korea.

International support for Indonesian plans

Russia's Rosatom signed a memorandum of understanding on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with BATAN in June 2015. This was designed to lead to other areas of cooperation beyond the HTR project, including the possibility of constructing Russian nuclear power units in Indonesia. In March 2017 an agreement was signed between the nuclear regulatory authorities of Russia and Indonesia, Rostechnadzor and BAPETEN, to cooperate on a range of issues related to the regulation of nuclear and radiation safety as well as nuclear security.

The Japanese and Indonesian governments signed a cooperation agreement in November 2007 relating to assistance to be provided for the preparation, planning, and promotion of Indonesia's nuclear power development and assistance for public relations activities. In August 2014 the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) announced that it has agreed to extend this cooperation agreement with BATAN to include research and development of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTRs).

The IAEA has been reviewing the safety aspects of both Muria and Madura proposals, with Indonesia's Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency – Badan Pengawas Tenaga Nuklir (BAPETEN). It was then looking at the Bangka sites. BAPETEN was established in 1998 and reports directly to the President.

Public opinion

The most recent nuclear public opinion survey was a seven-year study conducted by BATAN between 2010 to 2016. After a dip in 2011, the study revealed a consistent year-on-year increase in support for nuclear from 2012 to 2016 – exceeding 70% from 2014 onwards and reaching 77.5% support towards the nuclear power programme in the final year of the study. The report attributed this to the widely-held public assumption that there is an “urgent need for stable and reliable electricity.”

Research & development

Indonesia has a number of nuclear-related facilities in operation. BATAN operates three research reactors in:

  • Serpong, Banten, on the western outskirts of Jakarta (30 MW);
  • Bandung, west Java (2 MW); and
  • Yogyakarta, central Java (100 kW).

The country also has front-end capabilities in ore processing, conversion and fuel fabrication, all at a laboratory scale, though PT Batan Teknologi assembles fuel elements for the research reactors using imported US fuel.

There have been no experiments in reprocessing, but BATAN operates a radwaste program including for spent fuel from the research reactors.

Serpong

At the Research Centre for Science and Technology (PUSPIPTEK), is the German 30 MW Multipurpose Reactor G.A. Siwabessy (RSG-GAS). This started up in 1987, and is managed and operated by the Multi Purpose Reactor Centre (PRSG). It is intended to support the introduction of nuclear power to the country. It is normally run at 15 MW.

BATAN’s Centre for Nuclear Technology and Reactor Safety (PTKRN) is responsible for increasing the safety of the 30 MW research reactor at Serpong, and for commissioning the planned experimental power reactor (RDE) there.

Also located at Serpong PUSPIPTEK:

  • Centre for Advanced Material Science & Technology (PSTBM);
  • Centre for Development of Nuclear Informatics (PPIN);
  • Nuclear Device Engineering Centre (NEDC);
  • Radioisotope and Radiopharmaceutical Technology Centre (PTRR, formerly Radioisotopes and Radiopharmaceuticals Centre, PRR);
  • Materials Technology Centre for Nuclear Fuel (PTBBN);
  • Radioactive Waste Technology Centre (PTLR);
  • Nuclear Industrial Materials Technology Centre (PTBIN);
  • Centre for Nuclear Standardisation and Quality (PSMN);
  • Centre for Nuclear Facility Engineering (PRFN); and
  • Centre for Nuclear Technology Partnership (PKTN).

A government-owned company, PT Batan Teknologi (PT-BATEK), produces medical and industrial isotopes (including Mo-99) for domestic needs using the facilities in Serpong. Medical isotope production has been shifted from Bandung to there.

Friday Market (Pasar Jumat) in Jakarta is a larger nuclear establishment, with:

  • Isotopes and Radiation Technology Applications Centre (PATIR);
  • Centre for Technology of Nuclear Safety and Metrology (PTKMR);
  • Nuclear Geology Development Centre (PPGN);
  • Centre for Education and Training (PDL);
  • Centre for Assessment of Nuclear Energy Systems (PKSEN);
  • Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology Dissemination (PDIN).

Bandung

At the Bandung Reactor Centre, BATAN’s Centre for Applied Nuclear Science and Technology (PSTNT) operates the Triga 2000 research reactor. This was the country’s first research reactor, a small Triga mkII, which started up in 1964 and was subsequently boosted to 2 MW in 2000. In 2017 it was being re-licensed, though plans are being made for its shutdown in a few years, and decommissioning. The site also hosts the Nuclear Materials Technology and Radiometric Centre (PTNBR) where nuclear medicine in the country was established.

In August 2016 BATAN with Indonesian Nuclear Industry LLC and BAPETEN completed the downblending of all unirradiated highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 1.4 kg of irradiated HEU to below 20%, eliminating the last HEU in SE Asia. The HEU was left over from Mo-99 production to 2011. 

Yogyakarta

BATAN’s Centre for Accelerator Science & Technology (PSTA) operates the 100 kW Kartini Triga research reactor which started up in 1979. The College of Nuclear Technology (STTN) is also there and uses the reactor for training.

Regulation and safety

A 2014 review of law and regulations confirmed that BATAN had the authority to develop and operate the RDNK/RDE reactor in accordance with the 1997 Nuclear Energy Act and the 2014 Government Regulation on Licensing of Nuclear Installation and the Utilization of Nuclear Materials, with the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (BAPETEN).

Earlier in November 2009 the IAEA undertook an integrated nuclear infrastructure review (INIR) mission to Indonesia. Against 19 parameters, "no actions needed" on six, "significant actions needed" on three, and the rest "minor actions needed". In respect to IAEA milestones, the country is at the first: "ready to make a knowledgeable commitment". During the 1980s many technical people were trained in anticipation of nuclear power development then, and many of these are still available for the new project.

Uranium

There are some uranium resources in Kalimantan, and possibly West Papua. BATAN in September 2016 quoted 78,000 tonnes as high-cost resources.

International agreements and non-proliferation

Indonesia's safeguards agreement with the IAEA under the NPT entered force in 1980 and the Additional Protocol entered force in 1999. In 1997 it signed the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and Radioactive Waste Management. 


Notes & references

General sources

BATAN 2012 summary of situation for IAEA
BATAN, Soft Launching of the Non Commercial Power Reactor (RDNK)/Experimental Power Reactor (RDE) (1 March 2015)
Rosatom, Russian-Indonesian consortium won the tender for the preliminary design of the research reactor in Indonesia [in Russia] (17 April 2015)
The 2017-2026 Electricity Supply Business Plan (Rencana Umum Penyediaan Tenaga Listrik, RUPTL) issued by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia in 2017
2014 Indonesia National Energy Policy (Government Regulation No. 79/2014)
National Roadmap for Nuclear Power Programme - Indonesia, BATAN, presented at the IAEA Technical Meeting on Topical Issues in the Development of Nuclear Power Infrastructure held in Vienna, Austria on 31 January - 3 February 2017
PWC Power In Indonesia Investment and Taxation Guide November 2018, 6th Edition


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