Hands off Nuclear : Greenpeace calls upon Medco to develop Clean Renewable Energy

Feature story - September 12, 2007
Greenpeace activists scaled the PT Medco Energi Internasional headquarters, to hang a 30-meter long banner proclaiming “Medco Hands off Nuclear” in central Jakarta today. The activists are demanding that Medco abort its deal with the Korean Hydro & Nuclear Power Corporation for building a 2000 MW nuclear power plant in Java.

Greenpeace activists scaled the PT Medco Energi Internasional headquarters, to hang a 30-meter long banner proclaiming “Medco Hands off Nuclear” in central Jakarta.

Greenpeace wants Medco to stop building dirty power plants and divert their future investments towards developing the renewable energy potential of Indonesia. Today's activity comes in the wake of the Nahdhatul Ulama dismissal of nuclear power as Haram (forbidden), reflecting the concerns of the communities around the proposed site of the plant in Jepara.

Greenpeace dismissed PT Medco's claim that it needed $3 billion dollars to build a 2000 MW nuclear power plant by 2016 as unrealistic and a dangerous pipe dream. While the nuclear industry has pegged the price for 1000 MW at $2 billion, the fact is that the most recent project, Olkiluoto-3 in Finland, supposedly the showcase of 'improved economics of nuclear reactors', faces huge cost overruns resulting in at least $4 billion for 1000 MW of nuclear capacity.

"Why is Medco squandering billions of dollars on a high-risk economic investment, which is not only dangerous to the environment but will hardly address the projected energy crisis?", asked Ms. Nur Hidayati, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate & Energy campaigner. " Why is Medco overlooking the abundance of proven and safe alternatives for producing electricity from renewable sources including geothermal, solar, micro-hydro, wind and biomass? Why is Medcopushing hazardous nuclear and dirty coal, which are nothing but obstacles for solutions to climate change and energy security? We have not received any satisfactory responses from Medco on these issues," she added.

"Besides the real risk of an accident like the Chernobyl explosion, the most fearsome aspect of nuclear energy is the hundreds of thousands of tons of lethal radioactive waste that we will have to live with. Billions of dollars that would be wasted in risky reactors, must be put to better use by exploring and developing clean and renewable energy systems that will not only ensure energy security but will be available to all Indonesians through decentralized systems," she concluded.

Hardly any of the currently 435 commercial nuclear reactors in operation world-wide have been built within the planned time frames or budgets, and competitive electricity prices could only be achieved by price regulations, direct and indirect subsidies to the production of nuclear power, and externalizing most environmental costs of uranium mining and fuel production, and heavily subsidizing a large part back end costs.

On September 1, 2007, -the Jepara chapter of Nahdhatul Ulama (NU) took a decision to forbid the building of nuclear plant in Jepara as its negative impacts, specifically the hazards of radioactive leaks and nuclear waste, far outweigh its potential benefits as it threatened the very survival of the local population of the area.

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