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New Technology Represents a Potential Alternative to Indonesia’s Energy Production

Indonesia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a U.S. based company for developing TMSRs. The Indonesian partners involved includes state-owned power generation Company called Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN).

TMSR supplies nuclear fuel in the form of a molten salt mixture. They include burners and breeders in fast or thermal spectra, using fluoride or chloride salt-based fuels and a range of fissile or fertile consumables.

The key advantage of TMSR as compared to traditional coal-based energy sources is that TMSR emits almost zero greenhouse gases. This technology is appealing to the nation facing escalating environmental challenges due to coal plants.

Coal plants have been the cause of environmental hazards for many developing nations with rising energy demands. According to a study by Harvard University, a new coal fired plant can cause the deaths of 600 Indonesians per year due to its environmental and health hazards.

In September this year, Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, has pledged for the country to reduce carbon emissions by 29% by 2030. This pledge was amidst rising coal production of about five folds since 2000 according to a recent report.

TMSR can help reduce the growth of coal-fired plants, slated to add 20 GW of generation capacity in the country's most recent energy plan. The introduction of this technology seems a sensible alternative for the country to maximise its resources and simultaneously curb its carbon emissions.

However, Indonesia acknowledges the importance of not depending on nuclear energy alternatives like TMSR. Earlier this month, Indonesia’s energy Minister Sudirman Said voiced his concern of nuclear-based energy sources and the urged the exploration of various energy alternatives.

"We have arrived at the conclusion that this is not the time to build up nuclear power capacity. We still have many alternatives and we do not need to raise any controversies”, said the Minister.

However, Minister Said went on to say that the country will still be interested in new developments associated with nuclear technology. Despite its appealing benefits TMSRs may still prove a challenge to commercialise despite the recent MoU. (Image from Remko TanisCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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