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US firms plan to build pioneering nuclear power plants in Indonesia

Jakarta Post - October 26, 2023

Jakarta – United States-based NuScale Power and ThorCon Power are planning to construct new nuclear power plants (PLTNs) in Indonesia despite the current lack of approval from the Indonesian government.

NuScale Power plans to build Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), a proposed class of sophisticated nuclear power reactors capable of generating up to 300 MW(e) per unit. On average, power generated by SMRs amounts to one-third generated by conventional nuclear power plants.

In addition, SMRs leave less of a carbon footprint. They can also connect to pre-existing power grids or off-the-grid rural areas, thus proving their worth in supplying electricity to Indonesian regions with a significant lack of electricity connection.

The Energy and Mineral Resource Ministry's New and Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Director General Yudo Dwinanda Priaadi stated that his agency had discussed plans to install a PLTN in Indonesia with NuScale Power.

"We have talked with NuScale, and they said they are ready to start operations in 2032. We also asked if they can start in 2032 or 2039, and they said they are ready whenever," Yudo said on Wednesday.

According to Yudo, NuScale has sufficient experience in constructing new nuclear power plants in multiple countries, including the US and Romania before setting sights on Indonesia.

To fulfill net-zero emissions (NZE) targets, Yudo added that Indonesia would have to rely on clean energy-based power plants capable of generating electricity up to 31 gigawatts (GW).

"We need 31 GW in the current NZE scenario, and yet, the draft government regulation for national energy policy sets the starting date to 2032. The point is, in the future, if we would like to talk about the scale of PLTNs, it would have to be in SMR-scale since we have many remote islands," said Yudo.

Meanwhile, through its subsidiary PT ThorCon Power Indonesia, ThorCon Power aims to start the operation of thorium-based PLTNs in Indonesia in 2030.

ThorCon Power Indonesia chief operating officer Bob S. Effendi said on Monday that his company would start steel-cutting processes for its power plants at a South Korean shipyard in November 2024.

By 2027, the power plant is set to be delivered to and installed in Bangka Belitung Islands, before collecting operational permission from the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (BAPETEN) in 2029.

Bob explained that his company's timeline was still under further discussion with BAPETEN, and ThorCon Power Indonesia would have to rely on a new presidential regulation (Perpres) on the construction of PLTNs in Indonesia.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/business/2023/10/26/us-firms-plan-to-build-pioneering-nuclear-power-plants-in-indonesia.htm