Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Russia is offering to work with Indonesia on nuclear power generators while saying that the cooperation can range from possible financing to workforce development.
Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobieva told reporters Wednesday that Moscow had been wanting to help the Southeast Asian country tap into nuclear energy. According to Vorobieva, 20 percent of Russia's electricity today comes from nuclear plants. Russia is home to the world's first nuclear power plant that produces electricity commercially. This plant – which had stopped generating electricity in 2002 after operating for 48 years – lies in the city of Obninsk.
"Whenever your government is ready to include nuclear power generation in [Indonesia's] systems, we are ready to assist you. Russia has a long experience of using nuclear power energy," Vorobieva told a press briefing in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Vorobieva claimed that the security level of Russian nuclear plants today was "five or six times higher" than that of the plants in Chernobyl and Fukushima, which were the sites of devastating nuclear disasters. And based on what she heard from Indonesian officials, small reactors would be more suitable for the archipelagic country.
"There is the floating nuclear plant technology. This is where we place small reactors on ships and then docked to anywhere. Other countries are still in the design stage for floating nuclear power plants, but we already have one in operation," Vorobieva said.
Russia is already taking part in nuclear power plant projects overseas, according to Vorobieva. As a case in point, Russia is financing 90 percent of a $12.65 billion project for Bangladesh's first nuclear power plant in Rooppur. The Russian loan is repayable within 28 years, with a 10-year grace period.
According to Vorobieva, a nuclear power plant could help Indonesia achieve its dream of making its new capital Nusantara a green city. "A nuclear plant does not emit emission. The only thing is the waste. But we already have the technology to take care of nuclear waste," Vorobieva said.
Russia intends to help with the development of the nuclear power plants. It can also make use of its expertise to train the Indonesian workforce on operating the technology.
"But it is up to the Indonesian government to decide. ... From my understanding, Indonesia is just looking at the options [of using nuclear power plants, including cooperation] with other countries, not just Russia. ... If your government finally decides [to actually adopt nuclear power generation], we are ready," Vorobieva said.
Government data shows Russian investment in Indonesia totaled $78.2 million in the first 9 months of 2023. The Russian direct investment went to 3,255 projects. Russia-Indonesia trade amounted to $3.6 billion in 2022. Two-way trade already reached $2.5 billion in January-September.