Mon, 26 Jun 2000

Vice President inaugurates 2MW nuclear reactor

BANDUNG (JP): Indonesia entered a new phase in its nuclear development on Saturday when the country's first two-megawatt reactor was inaugurated.

The reactor, called Triga 2000, was inaugurated by Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri at the National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) research center here. Also present was State Minister of Research and Technology A.S. Hikam.

The primary function of the reactor will be nuclear research and technology development for, among other things, developing nuclear isotopes for the health industry.

The Triga 2000 reactor is not a new construction. It was initially built in 1961 under the name of Triga Mark II. It originally had a capacity of 250 kilowatts. Then in 1971 the reactor's capacity was increased to one megawatt.

The reactor was also the first one to be built solely by Indonesian experts and scientists.

In the health sector, the reactor has help produce X-ray machines and renogram machines to test kidney function.

"With the outmost effort, we managed to increase the capacity of this reactor. And with this effort we are now going to design, build and operate another research reactor, Kartini, in Yogyakarta," Megawati said in her inauguration speech.

Megawati further urged Indonesians to give more attention to technological research and development.

A.S. Hikam said the country should be proud of this latest accomplishment because the reactor was well built and had its capacity increased by Indonesian experts from Batan.

Batan chief M. Iyos Subki said that in increasing the reactor's capacity, the agency spent over US$1.16 million to import spare parts and another Rp 1.1 billion ($135,000) on locally made components.

The added that the increased capacity was achieved on June 14.

Iyos also said the project was conducted in cooperation with General-Atomic California, which worked in a supervisory and advisory capacity.

Indonesia earlier planned to build the country's first nuclear power plant, an 800 megawatt plant on the slopes of an active volcano at the Muria Peninsula in Central Java.

The plant would have been the first in a series of 12 on the northern coast of Java with a total capacity of 7,000 MW.

This plan has been suspended.

The country currently relies on hydro, coal and fuel generated electricity. (25/dja)