USA and Indonesia form small nuclear partnership

In a further indication of the growing importance of small nuclear reactors (SMRs), the USA and Indonesia have announced a strategic partnership to help Indonesia develop its nuclear energy programme.

The partnership is intended to support Indonesia’s interest in deploying SMR technology to meet its energy security and climate goals. 

A Memorandum of Agreement, as well as affiliated grants and contracts, was signed during the Indo-Pacific Business Dialogue in Bali, Indonesia. 

Under the agreement, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a grant to PLN Indonesia Power to provide assistance to assess the technical and economic viability of a proposed nuclear power plant, to be located in West Kalimantan. It will include a site selection plan, power plant and interconnection system design, preliminary environmental and social impact assessment, risk assessment, cost estimate and regulatory review.

Indonesia Power has selected NuScale Power to carry out the assistance in partnership with a subsidiary of Fluor Corporation and Japan’s JGC Corporation. The proposed 462 MWe facility would utilise NuScale’s SMR technology.

In addition, cooperation will include new funding for capacity-building for Indonesia, building on its existing partnership under the US Department of State Foundational Infrastructure for the Responsible Use of SMR Technology (FIRST) Program. This includes support in areas such as workforce development, stakeholder engagement, regulations and licensing.

“This project will advance climate action and clean energy access throughout a critical part of the world and has the potential – as part of follow-on projects – to create thousands of jobs, pave the way for additional SMR projects in Indonesia and the Indo-Pacific region, and uphold the highest standards for nuclear safety, security, and non-proliferation,” the US Embassy in Jakarta said.

“Indonesia has demonstrated a strong interest in partnering with the United States on its energy transition and identifying innovative and groundbreaking US technology to advance its goals,” said USTDA’s Director Enoh Ebong “USTDA has a unique, catalytic role in advancing the development of some of the most ambitious and noteworthy infrastructure projects in Indonesia and emerging economies around the globe.”

NuScale President and CEO John Hopkins said: “In addition to providing our innovative small modular reactor technology to countries like Indonesia that are seeking reliable, zero-carbon baseload power, NuScale continues to support the US government in strengthening relationships abroad through clean energy. NuScale VOYGR SMR power plants are poised for the energy transition and will reinforce energy security for years to come.”

In August 2019, Indonesia’s National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with utility Indonesia Power to cooperate in the use of nuclear technology in the energy sector. One area of cooperation will be a feasibility study on the use of nuclear power plants.