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Jakarta panel supports n-energy bill

Straits Times - February 21, 1997

Jakarta – A special Indonesian parliamentary commission had recommended unanimously the passing of a Bill which would allow the government to control the use of nuclear energy, reports said here yesterday. The 87-strong commission, led by legislator Andi Mattalata, ended four months of deliberations with an approval of the draft Bill on Wednesday and Parliament was due to make a final decision about it on February 26 after a debate, said the Antara news agency.

The draft Bill is widely expected to be passed into a law on that day, said the Kompas daily.

Parliamentary debates have added five more chapters to the government's proposed 43 chapters, including two requiring the government to consult parliament before deciding on building a commercial nuclear-power plant and the location of nuclear-waste dumping, said Antara.

The Bill provides for an executive body appointed by the President which would oversee the research and development and exploration and exploitation of the minerals.

The body is also authorised to co-operate with state-owned, private or foreign companies in the execution of its duties.

Indonesia is considering proposals for an 1,800 megawatt nuclear plant on the slopes of the Muria volcano on the northern coast of densely-populated Central Java.

It would be the first of a series of 12 nuclear-power plants in Central Java with a total power-generating capacity of 7,000 megawatts.

The Canadian, Japanese and United States governments and nuclear companies are rallying to offer Indonesia nuclear technology for the plants.

But legislators, environmentalists and academics have opposed the project, claiming the decision about whether to build a nuclear-power plant should rest with the people. – AFP.