Nuclear power rejected anew in Indonesia

Another nail in the coffin for the nuclear industry, says Greenpeace

Press release - July 22, 2009
The rejection of nuclear power in Indonesia is another nail in the coffin of the nuclear industry, Greenpeace said today as it demanded the Philippine government to follow suit and abandon its dangerous nuclear power plans which it criticized as "backward and unproductive," and seemingly "reeking of less-than-noble intentions."

The environment organization had recently welcomed the decision of Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, (NU), that nuclear power is haram (forbidden) on the island of Madura, East Java. The announcement in Madura, close to Indonesia's second largest city of Surabaya, follows a similar decision by the Jepara, Central Java chapter of NU on 1 September 2007, when scholars and clerics concluded that the threat to the local communities from potential radioactive leaks and radioactive waste handling far outweighed any potential benefits.

"In Indonesia and in any part of the world including the Philippines, communities clearly do not want nuclear power as they will be the most at risk from its operations. This latest case of  rejection of nuclear power is another nail in the coffin for the obsolete nuclear power industry. Our government must see this as a signal to stop wasting time and money on expensive and dangerous technology that no one wants nor needs, and keep the focus on developing investments in clean, safe renewable energy under a strong Renewable Energy Law," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaigner Francis dela Cruz.

Worldwide, the nuclear industry is failing and still struggles with the same problems as it did forty years ago. Very few of the 435 operational nuclear power plants, as well as waste storage sites around the globe have been built within budget and on schedule. While there were reactors being built in 2008, many of these were delayed and no new reactors came online--compared to 27,000 megawatts of wind energy which came online in the same year. Indonesian President Yudhoyono had already announced that he was opposed to building a nuclear reactor as long as there are better alternatives. In June Indonesia's state energy utility, PLN, stated that it didn't see nuclear power being part of Indonesia's future energy mix.

In the Philippines, however, the government seems bent on pursuing the costly and hazardous nuclear path with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Department of Energy expressing support for nuclear power as an "alternative" energy source. This is despite strong opposition particularly on plans to revive the mothballed and obsolete Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

"There is no real benefit from nuclear power--only real economic losses and obvious danger.  To pursue nuclear power when the country is ready to harness clean, safe and abundant renewable energy goes against all common sense. Greenpeace asserts that the government should focus on massively expanding our renewable energy capacity and promoting energy efficiency standards and technologies. Renewable energy is the safest and cheapest source of power available, aside from being a key solution to climate change and energy security," concluded dela Cruz.

Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

Other contacts: Francis dela Cruz, Campaigner, +63 917 854 2103, JP Agcaoili, Media Campaigner, +63 2 414 6512 loc 121,