An employee walking along a thermal pipe at the Kamojang geothermal
power plant near Garut, West Java, on March 18. State utility provider
 Perusahaan Listrik Negara is targeting an additional 135 megawatts of
electricity from three new geothermal plants. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,.. etc.)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“.. Nuclear Power Revealed

So let me tell you what else they did. They just showed you what's wrong with nuclear power. "Safe to the maximum," they said. "Our devices are strong and cannot fail." But they did. They are no match for Gaia.

It seems that for more than 20 years, every single time we sit in the chair and speak of electric power, we tell you that hundreds of thousands of tons of push/pull energy on a regular schedule is available to you. It is moon-driven, forever. It can make all of the electricity for all of the cities on your planet, no matter how much you use. There's no environmental impact at all. Use the power of the tides, the oceans, the waves in clever ways. Use them in a bigger way than any designer has ever put together yet, to power your cities. The largest cities on your planet are on the coasts, and that's where the power source is. Hydro is the answer. It's not dangerous. You've ignored it because it seems harder to engineer and it's not in a controlled environment. Yet, you've chosen to build one of the most complex and dangerous steam engines on Earth - nuclear power.

We also have indicated that all you have to do is dig down deep enough and the planet will give you heat. It's right below the surface, not too far away all the time. You'll have a Gaia steam engine that way, too. There's no danger at all and you don't have to dig that far. All you have to do is heat fluid, and there are some fluids that boil far faster than water. So we say it again and again. Maybe this will show you what's wrong with what you've been doing, and this will turn the attitudes of your science to create something so beautiful and so powerful for your grandchildren. Why do you think you were given the moon? Now you know.

This benevolent Universe gave you an astral body that allows the waters in your ocean to push and pull and push on the most regular schedule of anything you know of. Yet there you sit enjoying just looking at it instead of using it. It could be enormous, free energy forever, ready to be converted when you design the methods of capturing it. It's time. …”

Monday, March 31, 2014

ADB Supports Renewable Energy by Investing in Indonesian Geothermal Plant

ADB, 31 March 2014

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $350 million financing package supporting the construction of the 320 megawatt Sarulla Geothermal Power Development Project in North Sumatra, Indonesia, an investment expected to unlock clean energy investments across the country, which holds 40% of the world’s geothermal resources.

The renewable energy project will provide clean, baseload power to an Indonesian grid currently dominated by aging coal and oil-fired power plants. It is expected to reduce 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year upon completion, which is estimated to be in 2018.

“Geothermal power taps into an abundant indigenous resource in Indonesia that can provide a more sustainable and secure form of clean energy while significantly lowering carbon emissions,” said Jackie B. Surtani, Senior Investment Specialist in ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.

Indonesia currently uses coal and oil to produce 65% of its electricity and fuel its economic growth. The country has vowed to increase the share of renewable energy in its primary energy supply from 5% in 2010 to 25% by 2025, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020. Geothermal plants typically produce less than 10% of the greenhouse gas emitted by fossil-fuelled thermal plants.

Under the loan package, ADB will provide $250 million from its ordinary capital resources, $80 million from the ADB Clean Technology Fund (CTF), and $20 million from the Canadian Climate Fund for Private Sector in Asia (funded by the Government of Canada) under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility. The project represents the first deployment by ADB of the Canadian Climate Fund and the first disbursal of CTF funds by ADB in Indonesia.

ADB’s climate finance capabilities were instrumental in establishing the first commercially financed, utility-scale geothermal independent power plant project in Indonesia in more than a decade. The climate funds were structured as an innovative loan tranche that bridged the financing gap between banks and investors to maintain financial viability of the project.

The project sponsors are Itochu Corporation, Kyushu Electric Power Company, Ormat International, and Medco Power Indonesia.

Six commercial banks – Bank of  Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, ING Bank, Mizuho Bank, National Australia Bank, Société Générale, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation – will also co-finance the total $1.17 billion loan package, which ADB and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) acted as Lead Structuring Banks.

The project will be developed and implemented under a 30-year energy sales contract with Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the national electricity utility company, a 30-year joint operating contract with Pertamina Geothermal Energy, and a 20-year guarantee from the Ministry of Finance.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

High-tech materials purify water with sunlight

ACS, March 16, 2014

Graphene (above), along with sunlight and
 titanium dioxide, can purify drinking water. 
(Credit: Tyndall National Institute)
DALLAS, March 16, 2014 — Sunlight plus a common titanium pigment might be the secret recipe for ridding pharmaceuticals, pesticides and other potentially harmful pollutants from drinking water. Scientists combined several high-tech components to make an easy-to-use water purifier that could work with the world’s most basic form of energy, sunlight, in a boon for water purification in rural areas or developing countries.

The talk was one of more than 10,000 presentations at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, taking place here through Thursday.

Anne Morrissey, Ph.D., explained that the new technology could someday be incorporated into an easy-to-use consumer product that would remove these stubborn pollutants from drinking water as a final step after it has already been treated with conventional methods.

Her group at Dublin City University in Ireland started with a compound called titanium dioxide (TiO­2), a powder used to whiten paints, paper, toothpaste, food and other products. With the right energy, TiO2 can also act as a catalyst — a molecule that encourages chemical reactions — breaking down unwanted compounds in drinking water like pesticides and pharmaceuticals. Morrissey explained that modifying current water treatment methods to get rid of these potentially harmful species can be costly and energy-intensive, and often, these modifications don’t completely eliminate the pollutants.

But Morrissey said TiO2 is usually only activated by ultraviolet light, which is produced by special bulbs. To access titanium dioxide’s properties with the sun’s light, Morrissey and her group experimented with different shapes of TiO2 that would better absorb visible light. She found that nanotubes about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair were best, but they couldn’t do it on their own.

That’s why she turned to graphene, a material made of sheets of carbon just one atom thick. “Graphene is the magic material, but its use for water treatment hasn’t been fully developed,” she said. “It has great potential.” Morrissey put the TiO2 nanotubes on these graphene sheets. Pollutants stuck to the surface of the graphene as they passed by, allowing TiO2 to get close enough to break them down.

Her research group successfully tested the system on diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug notorious for wiping out nearly an entire vulture population in India.

“We’re looking at using the graphene composite in a cartridge for one-step drinking water treatment,” said Morrissey. “You could just buy a cartridge off the shelf and plop it into the pipe where the drinking water comes into your house.” The cartridge system would also ensure that the graphene stays immobilized and does its job without contaminating the clean water.

Morrissey noted, however, that the technology will never be strong enough to completely clean drinking water on its own. Rather, she sees it as a polishing step after traditional water treatment processes to mop up the most insidious pollutants.

That could be especially useful in her home country, where she said many rural communities use small water treatment systems that only supply a few dozen homes. Because they don’t have the infrastructure that large-scale urban treatment plants do, she thinks that a cartridge that could clean with only the sun’s energy could help make their water safer.

Ultimately, Morrissey said there are still many questions to answer before declaring her TiO2-graphene system a success. One of the biggest is making sure that when it breaks down pollutants, it is producing harmless byproducts. She also wants to make sure that the energy required for the system compares favorably to simply using TiO2 with ultraviolet light. But so far, she reported, her design seems to be easier to make and dispose of than other visible-light activated TiO2 purifiers.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

New technology for uninterrupted power supply in India could end rolling blackouts

Deutsche Welle, 18 March 2014

They call it the Uninterrupted Direct Current and it could be the solution to India's crippling, rolling power cuts. The UDC guarantees continuous power from the grid even during outages.

A new collaboration between the Indian government and the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai promises to be a "game changer" in power starved India. It could spell the end for the country's chronic power outages.

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, for instance, long, daily power cuts are common. They have been crippling for industry and agriculture, disrupting thousands of micro, small and medium sized enterprises.

"For the last year or more, because of the power cuts, many of us have suffered, especially our businesses. Some had to shut shop," says Uday Kumar, a small businessman from Madurai. "But if the government manages to power up our lives and give us minimum energy, we will greatly welcome it."

Uday Kumar is excited about the new technology, which is being tested in homes in four southern Indian states.

The added supply will maintain power for essentials, such fans and
mobile phone chargers

The 'uninterrupted direct current' (UDC) promises to provide electricity from the grid to power basic appliances such as fans, TVs, lights and mobile phone chargers, despite an outage and when demand is high.

Basic electricity

It's the brainchild of Indian Institute of Technology director Bhaskar Ramamurti and electrical engineering professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, a member of the prime minister's Science Advisory Council.

Ramamurti says the UDC aims to provide a minimum of 100 watts of power per day to households, with the addition of a simple piece of equipment at substations.

"In the home, you add another small device before the electric meter. So on top of AC power, we can supply a second output of power at 48 volts DC. This only gives you 48 volts DC and 100 watts [from the grid], but you get it 24 hours a day," says Ramamurti.

And in the event of a power outage, the new system will maintain a minimal supply of power.

The UDC: turning a blackout into a "brown out"

"So you will have a 'brown out' rather than a blackout," adds Ramamurti.

LED future

The current flows through a separate meter to power three lights, two fans and a mobile charger. Consumers who opt for the scheme will have to spend around 1,000 Indian rupees (12 euros) for the device at home, and buy LED (light emitting diode) bulbs and fans that run on DC (direct current) power.

Krishna Vasudevan, an electrical engineer and member of the UDC development team, says the system will guarantee a constant power supply to millions of homes even when the grid is overstretched.

"Brushless fans and LED lights that work on direct current will be powered using this DC power," says Vasudevan. "It will go a long way to alleviate the starved situation in India."
And there is room for expansion.

Private users can increase their power consumption by connecting a solar panel to the UDC unit.

But more than this, the engineers say their system is so strong that large complexes should consider enhancing basic DC with solar power to reduce dependence on expensive diesel generators.

Users are warned when they exceed 100 watts - a bell rings, telling them
to turn off a fan or a light

It could even run alongside smart meters.

Testing, testing

All eyes are on the results of a proof-of-concept demonstration in the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

Ashok Jhunjhunwala says the UDC will be a "game changer" for India.

"I think it's a very simple idea but real huge gains are possible. So I think if we do it right, India has a game changer technology," says Jhunjhunwala. "It has to take it all the way."

When the pilot project ends in the next few months, work will begin on securing regulatory approval and developing safety standards.

Then, it is hoped, the UDC will be rolled out across the country.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gaza's only power plant 'shuts down for lack of fuel'

Google – AFP, 15 March 2014

A view of the Gaza Strip's sole power plant in Nusairat taken on March 26,
2012 (AFP/File, Mohammed Abed)

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) — The Gaza Strip's only power plant shut down Saturday due to a lack of fuel from Israel, which closed a goods crossing after militant rocket attacks, the energy authority said.

"The plant has completely ceased to function due to a lack of fuel caused by (Israel's) closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing," said Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy director of the energy authority in the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas.

On Thursday, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza and the Erez pedestrian crossing "until further security assessments."

In response, the energy authority cut the plant's operation from only 12 hours a day to six until the fuel ran out.

The facility, which supplies some 30 percent of Gaza's electricity needs, has been forced to shut down several times, most recently in December.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Li Keqiang pledges affordable housing for all in China

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-03-13

A monitor at Beijing Railway Station broadcasts Li Keqiang's press
conference live, Mar. 13. (Photo/CNS)

China will adopt a varied approach in regulating the housing market, and curbing speculation and investment-oriented purchases, the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, said on Thursday.

At a press conference held at the end of China's annual "lianghui" — the twin meetings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing — Li said China will increase the supply of ordinary commercial housing in the market.

A long-term mechanism will be built to ensure steady and sound growth of the housing market, the premier said.

Li said the goal of the government on the housing issue is to provide adequate housing for the entire population, noting that some 100 million Chinese still live in poor, run-down areas of cities.

He said the government will redouble efforts to overhaul run-down areas this year, pledging to rebuild 4.7 million shanty houses as proper housing.

More government-subsidized housing such as public rental properties will be built, and efforts will be made to ensure that housing is distributed equitably, he said, adding that "a small action is more important than a thousand words."

Related Article:

In Public Housing, the Rot of Corruption

Jakarta Globe, Mar 12, 2014

A housing complex is being completed in the Greater Jakarta area.
(JG Photo/Safir Makki)

The Public Housing Ministry has come under the public glare as officials in East Nusa Tenggara investigate the possible embezzlement of funds allocated for the construction of houses for low-income residents in nine districts there.

Mangihut Sinaga, the chief judge of the East Nusa Tenggara High Court, said on Wednesday that his office had launched in inquiry into the allegation that as much as Rp 1 trillion ($88 million) had been embezzled from the fund between 2011 and 2013.

Mangihut called the case “interesting,” citing a number of irregularities that his office had uncovered in the building project, starting from the specification of the houses, to the timeline for the project, up to the use of funds for the project.

He said the funds alleged to have been embezzled covered the construction of new housing as well as other aid programs that were connected to the housing project.

“Aside from the partners and the managers of those funds, anyone in the Public Housing Ministry who is involved will be investigated, because the funds came from the ministry,” Mangihut said.

Court investigators will also be looking at the individuals responsible for the implementation of the project, with Mangihut noting that the ministry typically appointed a working unit that would have the authority over the use of funds in the region.

The court has reportedly investigated Felix Soba, the head of Ngada district, who confirmed that there was an inquiry under way into the housing project.

Felix said that under the project, 300 homes were to be built in Ngada, although only 150 units had to date been built.

“As for other issues, I cannot explain in detail because we have been questioned by the prosecutor,” he said, adding that the questioning had focused on information about the progress of the throughout the three-year period.

The court said it was also expanding its investigations to eight other districts and their top officials, including Kupang district and Kupang municipality, South Timor Tengah district, North Timor Tengah district, Belu district, East Flores district, Alor district and Central Sumba district.

The Atambua High Court in Belu is also gathering information about the public housing project in Belu and Malaka districts in 2012, according to a report on Wednesday by The court is reportedly targeting 57 contractors involved in the project as part of its investigation.

Roberthus Takoy, the chief judge, said on Tuesday that investigators had questioned dozens of witnesses linked to the case and had decided to pursue a full criminal investigation.

“We are now focusing on the contractors handling the supply and installation of energy-saving lights and low-voltage electricity for the five villages of Saenama, Wesey, Faturika, Bisesmus and Rinbesihat,” Roberthus said, referring to the two of the programs that were part of the wider housing project. reported that the condition of the houses that had already been built in Haliwen ward in Kupang, the provincial capital, were very poor, with most of them consisting of rusty iron frames, while others were only half-built.

Similar conditions were reportedly found in Fatubenao and Manumutin wards, where only the frames of the houses have been built, most of which have also started rusting due to the rainy season.

“The frames were built in August 2013,” said Yosep, a resident.

“Back then, they came unloading sand three times, without cement. Those working on the project even asked for our old houses to be demolished for them to be able to build new ones, but we refused.”

East Nusa Tenggara is not the only region suffering from the alleged misuse of funds in the government’s regional housing projects.

Last month, the West Kalimantan High Court detained two corruption suspects contracted by the Public Housing Ministry — Tri Eddy Nuryanto, the managing director of builder Pilar Persada, and Eko Wahyudo, an official from the company’s branch in Pontianak, the West Kalimantan capital, reported.

The two men were arrested on charges of alleged graft in the construction of special housing in Bengkayang district, which was included in the Public Housing Ministry’s 2012 budget.

The government has reportedly disbursed 100 percent of the Rp 6.7 trillion contract for the construction of 100 homes there, out of which only 66 were built.

In East Java, the Pamekasan High Court is also reportedly looking into alleged embezzlement of funds for a similar project targeted for some 313 low-income households in the region.

Each household reportedly received just Rp 3.5 million of the Rp 7.4 million worth of aid allocated to them by the Public Housing Ministry.

Earlier this year, Firdaus Djaelani, the executive chief for non-banking financial industry monitoring at the Financial Services Authority (OJK), said Indonesia’s need for housing stood at approximately 800,000 units annually, adding that the government still had a backlog of 15 million housing units.

The number of houses built using the Housing Finance Liquidity Facility (FLPP) — a mortgage program subsidized by the ministry to help low- and middle-income families own homes — stood at 87,765 units, or 72.5 percent of the targeted 121,000 units for 2013.

Efforts to provide more affordable housing units for low-income families also remain hampered, with the public housing savings bill, which is meant to offer an alternative and more affordable funding scheme, still being deliberated at the House of Representatives, despite Public Housing Ministry Djan Faridz declaring late last year that it would be passed by January.

In a report by, Panangian Simanungkalit, the executive director of the Indonesian Center of Property Studies, deplored the lack of coordination by the ministry in organizing its programs.

“The public housing savings bill is actually very vital because it has the potential to expand [Indonesia’s] capacity in funding the construction of public housing. The capacity of the FLPP has the potential to grow. If it isn’t ratified, Indonesia’s housing deficit will only grow,” he said as quoted by

“The Public Housing Ministry is very weak in its coordination, not just with the House of Representatives but also with other ministries. The Public Housing Ministry is taken lightly, so it doesn’t have the government’s strong support.”

Although some supported the postponement of the bill’s passage, Panangian said the move could worsen the public’s negative perception of the government.

“The public will continue to remain apathetic and will always be negative toward housing policies and programs,” he said.

Speaking at the Public Housing National Assembly last month February, public policy expert Andrinof Chaniago dubbed the government’s public housing policy an “anomaly.”

“This anomaly in housing developments and policies is very clear,” he said.

He cited public housing policies in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea, which he said were much clearer compared to that of Indonesia, where the government’s policies had failed to improve the welfare of the people.

“Landed homes predominate [in Indonesia], but how does this impact the people’s welfare?” he said.

“The cost of living is very high and the existing mechanism forces people to live out in the suburbs as they are haunted by the illusion that land prices will be much cheaper in those areas.”

Andrinof said that in a country as densely populated as Indonesia, the government should build more apartment blocks for its people, which could also put the brakes on rising land prices.

“We have to realize that our problem is in adopting the wrong paradigm from the 1980s up until now,” he said.

“Otherwise, our backlog will continue to grow.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Activists Rally Against Nuclear Power in Blackout-Prone Indonesia

Plans to construct a nuclear power plant in Indonesia have received global attention as anti-nuke activists from Japan meet with local campaigners

Jakarta Globe,  Cory Rogers, Mar 11, 2014

The installation of a nuclear research reactor at an operation hall of the
 National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) complex in Serpong on April 23,
2013. (AFP Photo)

Yogyakarta/Jakarta. A government-backed plan to construct nuclear power plants in Indonesia has been met with backlash by several local groups in the archipelago, highlighting the tensions nuclear power projects face in a post-Fukushima world.

Recently announced plans to make the West Java district of Subang the site of Indonesia’s fourth nuclear reactor has pushed a decades-long conflict back into the spotlight, pitting those who view the establishment of nuclear power plants as a valuable addition to Indonesia’s energy portfolio against others who say the social and environmental risks of radioactive contamination outweigh the potential benefit.

Critics point out that Indonesia’s geologic position atop the “Ring of Fire” makes it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions — events that drastically increase the odds of a nuclear tragedy. These concerns are augmented by fears that rampant corruption and graft will undermine the government’s ability to implement and then manage costly safety protocols.

In January, Japanese representatives from No Nukes Asia Actions (NNAA), a Tokyo-based anti-nuclear coalition, gathered with Indonesian activists in Balong, Central Java, to discuss resistance strategies and the prospects of an international partnership to thwart the prospect of nuclear power in Indonesia.

“With Fukushima, the whole world witnessed the terrible effects of nuclear disaster,” NNAA rep Seung Choo told some 200 residents in Balong over two days of talks. “Now, we must say no more nuclear plants — not here in Indonesia or anywhere else.”

Balong provided a fitting backdrop to the event: in 2007, growing fears over a proposed nuclear power plant cohered into an alliance of local residents, business owners, religious groups and students that eventually thwarted government plans to break ground in 2014.

In 2007, the Jepara branch of Nahdatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, even issued a fatwa against the proposed plant, drawing the ire of state officials who had been courting the group for support.

But nuclear plans in Indonesia have been on the table for a large chunk of the nation’s modern history.

Nuclear power plays

The National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan), created by former President Sukarno in 1964, has been Indonesia’s most strident nuclear energy advocate. The organization has aired hopes to establish three fully operational nuclear power plants in the country by 2025, a plan that has been embraced as part of Indonesia’s Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development (MP3EI).

Batan spokesman Eko Madi Parmanto says claims of public resistance to nuclear power have been greatly exaggerated in Indonesia.

“We’ve periodically conducted surveys to measure people’s acceptance of the nuclear plant plan,” Eko told the Jakarta Globe last week. “The latest national survey in 2013 indicates that 67.6 percent of respondents support the plan.”

The agency views nuclear energy as an alternative to Indonesia’s addiction to unsustainable fossil fuels that pollute the environment and contribute to climate change. Indonesia has a wealth of potential in safe, renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro and geothermal, but oil, coal and natural gas still provide more than over 80 percent of the nation’s power. Only 12 percent of the country’s energy is provided by renewable sources.

In geothermal power alone, Indonesia is operating at a mere 4.2 percent of its potential output, despite sitting astride 40 percent of the world’s geothermal resources.

Oil, which accounts for about 30 percent of the country’s current energy supply, is now mostly imported, leaving the country vulnerable to unhedged price volatility together with currency fluctuations. In addition, oil — along with coal and natural gas — powers an electrical grid still suffering from chronic energy shortages throughout the country. Millions of poor, rural Indonesians, especially in eastern Indonesia, remain without electricity, and struggles to meet existing electricity needs are made worse by an 8 percent annual rise in demand.

The situation requires huge government subsidies in fuel and electricity just to keep up, consuming 41 percent of all government expenditures; more than what is budgeted for education, environmental protection, health, and housing combined. In 2013, some 13 percent of the nation’s subsidized fuel was used at power plants, according to government agency data.

According to Batan, nuclear power plants would play only a minor role in addressing these multi-pronged energy woes, adding just 5 percent to Indonesia’s total energy production if the government’s 2025 energy diversification goals were met.

Gus Nung presents in front of the Japanese representatives of No Nukes
Asia Actions (NNAA) on January 12, 2014. (JG Photo/Cory Rogers)

Resistance to Batan-led advocacy

At the local level, Batan has drawn criticism for its attempts to win support among populations living near proposed plants, which over the years have included sites in Balong, Bangka-Belitung, Kalimantan and Madura.

The promotional efforts carried out by Batan were key in galvanizing opposition to the proposed plant back in the mid 2000s, said Daviq, the secretary of the Balong Community Union (PMB), a local anti-nuclear energy group.

That advocacy campaign, which called for annual outlays of $2.5 million to fund scholarship programs, social events and a host of other activities, highlighted the benefits of nuclear power while, according to Daviq, making scant mention of its risks. When public queries about the program failed to produce useful information, many grew skeptical of the plan.

“We finally made the decision that OK, if the government is not willing to give the information to us, then we must seek it for ourselves,” he said.

Iwan Kurniawan, a lecturer at the Jakarta-based Institute of Archipelago Business, recalled similar transparency concerns at play in Madura, East Java, where in 2003 Batan was busy promoting another nuclear plant. Formerly a nuclear physicist with Batan who left the agency over an undisclosed dispute, Iwan said that in order to assuage safety concerns voiced by locals, Batan made spurious claims regarding its capacity to install the latest and safest model plant in Madura.

“The kind of plant being discussed was still in its research phase in South Korea,” Iwan said, explaining that such a plant could not be promised. He added that localities targeted by Batan-led nuclear advocacy were frequently vulnerable to this kind of misinformation.

“When Batan comes and discusses the benefits, I come and discuss the risks to create a more balanced perspective,” he said.

As in Balong, once the risks of nuclear contamination became apparent, public opposition stymied construction of the proposed plant in Madura. Activists argued that given the amount of untapped alternative energy sources that existed, the risks of nuclear disaster were avoidable and unjustifiable.

The nation’s nuclear power agency denied the allegations, explaining that Batan attempts to inform the public about leakage, natural disaster, and operators’ negligence risks as well as detailed information on how plant operators would ensure safety.

“We’ve also developed an information system on our website, and people can ask us via email about this safety technology,” Eko said.

Socialization campaigns remain crucial to successful implementation at proposed sites “only if the government has seriously designed the nuclear power plant program,” Eko explained.

“There are currently no plans for research at other locations,” he said.

The global business of nuclear power

If domestic resistance to nuclear power has hinged on countering Batan’s campaigns, the international strategy advocated by the NNAA seeks to shed a critical light on the corporate interests driving nuclear energy.

According to NNAA representative Seung Choo, business-friendly regulations in Japan that reallocate risk to nuclear operators encourage investment by companies like Toshiba, GE and Hitachi — the companies that build the plants. Japan’s 1961 Act of Compensation for Nuclear Damages mandates that the nuclear power operators, as opposed to the suppliers, assume exclusive accountability for any nuclear damage caused by an accident, making taxpayers ultimately responsible for damages.

This creates what Seung Choo calls a “crisis of liability,” where corporations that stand to profit from construction have less incentive to prioritize safety.

These laws work to promote “the sound development of the nuclear industry,” the NNAA said in a statement, and the group fears such business-friendly regulations will be replicated elsewhere as nuclear suppliers seek to access markets like Indonesia.

According to Indonesia’s 1997 Nuclear Power Act, if the country were to successfully establish a nuclear power plant, the suppliers would be responsible for up to Rp 900 billion ($76 million) in damages to be doled out over a maximum period of 30 years, regardless of the actual cost of damages.

Recent studies have shown that radiation-induced cancer can take as long as 40 years to develop, and the financial recovery of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster will approach $250 billion dollars.

Attempts to contact the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises for clarification on current regulations were unsuccessful.

In response to the situation in Japan, where the corporate builders of nuclear power plants are shielded from restitution, the NNAA is challenging whether the 1961 act in court was constitutional.

Armed with 22 lawyers, their recently filed suit seeks redress for Japanese victims, and to inspire citizens in other nations to “abolish special legal provisions that protect nuke businesses all around the world,” the group said in a statement.

The suit seeks 10,000 plaintiffs worldwide to sign over power of attorney so that the NNAA can represent them in court. “Anyone can be a plaintiff,” Choo said. “Even someone traumatized by the media coverage qualifies as a victim.” If the NNAA wins, these foreign plaintiffs will receive a symbolic, one-dollar payout.

In Balong, the NNAA made hundreds of documents available for signing. Many, including Nuruddin Amin, the head of the Hasyim Asy’ari Pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in Bangsri, Central Java, and a longtime supporter of the anti-nuclear cause, expressed enthusiasm for the strategy.

“The Fukushima accident is not only a tragedy for the Japanese,” Nuruddin said. “It is a tragedy for the whole world, and I hope we all will join to sign this power of attorney so that we can work on this issue together.”

Many Indonesian activists, however, remained mindful that the first battle remains on the home front, helping provide balanced information to communities earmarked for nuclear power plant development.

For Iwan, the resistance coalitions that fought a successful battle in Balong ought to provide guidance and direction as the drive for domestic nuclear power progresses.

“Here we have a model of resistance that can be delivered elsewhere,” he said.

— Erwida Maulia contributed to this report in Jakarta

Women shout slogans in front of the National Diet in Tokyo
on March 9, 2014 as they take part in a rally denouncing nuclear
power plants (AFP, Toru Yamanaka)

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