Frequently Asked Questions
Nuclear power is by far the safest energy source. The reference below shows that it has the lowest death rate per TWh, 0.09 deaths per TWh generated. Meanwhile, coal power plants have the highest fatality rating, at 100 deaths per TWh generated.
In commercial nuclear reactors, the highest cost is in the capital cost. However, when electricity is generated, the operational costs of nuclear energy are much lower than the capital costs. The costs of decommissioning and waste handling are usually fully included in the operating costs. When combined with system costs and social, health, and environmental costs, nuclear is very competitive with other forms of electricity generation, both coal and renewable energy.
Indonesia is one of the countries that signed the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons). And nuclear power in Indonesia will be strictly monitored by national and even international nuclear energy regulatory agencies.
Since the beginning of the civilian nuclear power industry, nuclear waste has never harmed humans or the environment. The volume of nuclear waste is minimal compared to other industrial wastes. And this waste is stored safely and managed responsibly. No other category of waste is recorded precisely and stored safely, like nuclear waste.
However, in the following explanation, nuclear energy can be utilized if there is an urgent need, and various in-depth studies have been carried out. And the reasons for its urgency are the energy transition, solving climate change, and achieving the planned energy mix target (i.e., 31% (133 GW) of the energy mix from new and renewable energy (NRE) by 2050. Also, this is no longer relevant because nuclear has been included in the draft NRE Act based on the statement from Commission VII DPR (The House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia).
Indonesia is ready to own and operate a nuclear power plant. Because Indonesia already has experience working with 3 research nuclear reactors operated by BATAN safely since 1965. The results of the IAEA evaluation state that Indonesia has made extensive preparations in most aspects of infrastructure that allow it to consider the use of nuclear energy better and can take steps to prepare for phase 2, namely the preparation phase for construction.
Nuclear power does not release greenhouse gas emissions into the environment during its operation. Due to its high energy density, it has a small footprint, does not harm the ecosystem, and the waste is stored safely and precisely. Nuclear power is the only scalable energy source that addresses all the criteria. Then it can be said that nuclear power is very environmentally friendly.
According to the government’s plan to make an energy transition to replace coal power plants, only nuclear power has the same capability as coal as reliable baseload energy and even has several more advantages. In line with the commitment to net-zero emissions and climate change prevention, which has been ratified into the act. According to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), nuclear power is essential if the world keeps global warming below 1.5 degrees.
The daily operation of nuclear power plants does not produce radiation levels that are harmful to human health and the environment. Nuclear reactors and power plants have complex safety features to prevent radiation release to the environment, both under normal operating conditions and postulated accident conditions. A study conducted in the US by Bisconti Research, Inc found that the favorability of nuclear power plants (NPP) in the plant neighbors was higher than the general US public (81 percent are favorable, compared with 64 percent of the general public). It concludes that the issue of NIMBY in nuclear power plants is not real. Support and acceptance of nuclear energy are based on the awareness of the many benefits derived from nuclear power plants and the fact that nuclear power plants do not harm humans or the surrounding environment.
There is no regulation prohibiting the construction of nuclear power plants. On the contrary, even the construction of nuclear power plants has been mandated in Act No. 17 the Year 2007 and Presidential Regulation No. 5 the Year 2006.
Site selection should be based on the results of the study, including seismicity. In Indonesia itself, several areas are estimated to be suitable as nuclear power plant sites. And the site selection has also been regulated by the regulatory agency (Bapeten) so that it can be ascertained that the selected location is the one that meets the feasibility. As well as from the nuclear power plant accidents that have occurred, many lessons have been learned so that the design and technology of nuclear power plants are increasingly resistant to natural disasters.
About Thorcon Power
The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) is an experimental molten salt reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) with thermal power of 7.4 MW. It went critical in 1965 and operated until 1969 for 6,000 hours.
True, but under the Nuclear Energy Act, it is written that private agencies can build prototype nuclear reactors with BATAN. ThorCon has planned the implementation through 3 stages. The first stage is to build a Non-Fission Test Bed Platform, a test facility to test safety systems, thermohydraulic, and design validation. The second stage is to build a prototype after obtaining license and development permits as well as non-commercial operating licenses. The prototype will also be used for various tests. Finally, after obtaining a commercial license, the reactor in the prototype will be replaced, and commercial operations as a final stage can be carried out.
ThorCon will build a molten salt fuel laboratory and work with ITB (Institut Teknologi Bandung) to make molten salt fuel using Thorium mix with high-essay low-enrich Uranium (HALEU) which several global uranium supplier has committed to produce HALEU. But if HALUE is not yet available, then ThorCon can use commercially available LEU (Low Enriched Uranium).
The plant provides a storage area that can accommodate waste for the lifetime of the plant up to 80 years but before that Thorcon plant to put the spent fuel in dry cask storage which can still contain valuable fuel dan radioisotope can be extracted in the future.
Initially, it starts with a business decision. Because Indonesia is a huge market with a current population of 270 million, this value is projected to grow. In addition, Indonesia is the only country in the top 5 countries with the highest population that does not yet have a nuclear power plant. And Indonesia already has experience operating 3 experimental nuclear reactors (by BATAN).
Because the MSR-type reactor is not operated at high pressure, it does not require specially-made thick steel and any other special components. ThorCon’s simple, compact and modular design can be manufactured using shipbuilding technology with high efficiency in a short turnaround time of about 10 months. It operates at high temperatures (>500°C); hence it has high efficiency (46%). And the flexibility of the MSR-type reactor fuel is also a competitive price factor. The fuel can be made easily and cheaply, and it can even be made in Indonesia.
True, but ThorCon is not a floating nuclear power plant. Even though ThorCon is packaged in a ship’s hull, built in a shipyard, after being built, it will be towed to a location near the coast or offshore in Indonesia and then ballasted to the seabed with a water depth of 0-10 meters so that the geological structure will be the same as the surrounding land.
By having a LOW pressure (<10 bar), having NO zirconium cladding, hydrogen explosion and barrier breach are not possible to happen. It has a grace period of more than 200 days (conventional nuclear power plants are only capable of max. 4 days). The fuel is already liquid, natural circulation without using pump or operator intervention to dissipate heat from the reactor to the colling pond, temperature margin is more than 700°C, making a core meltdown impossible to happen. Reactivity will stops in 3 independent ways; doppler effect, shutdown rods, freeze valves. Fission products are bonded in molten salt; Iodine-131, Cesium-137, Strontium-90, and others are ionically bound in salt so that it is impossible to release into the environment. Three layers of radiation barrier, without pressure, it is impossible to breach. The last barrier is made of steel and concrete 3 meters thick. –All this makes Thorcon design is much safer.